Value promotion as a goal of medicine

Journal of Medical Ethics 47 (7):494-501 (2021)
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Abstract

In this paper, we argue that promoting patient values is a legitimate goal of medicine. Our view offers a justification for certain current practices, including birth control and living organ donation, that are widely accepted but do not fit neatly within the most common extant accounts of the goals of medicine. Moreover, we argue that recognising value promotion as a goal of medicine will expand the scope of medical practice by including some procedures that are sometimes rejected as being outside the scope of acceptable medical practice, such as certain forms of physician-assisted death. We then rebut some common and possible objections to this view. Our aim is not to argue that other accounts are mistaken—except when they argue for a single goal that does not include patient values—but rather to show that value promotion should play a more central role in discussions about the goals of medicine.

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Author Profiles

Eric Mathison
University of Toronto at Scarborough
Jeremy Davis
University of Georgia