The need for change in the system of health care delivery in the United States has finally emerged as a political issue alongside continuing budget deficits, a growing national debt, declining educational outcomes, and decreased competitiveness of American business in the global economy. The two most pressing health care problems at the present time are rapidly increasing costs and lack of access to the system. A more distant but potentially more recalcitrant problem is the ageing of our population. This paper (...) outlines and discusses some of the options for reform which are currently under consideration in the United States. (shrink)
What role should age play in the allocation of organs for transplantation? Historically, older patients have not been listed as candidates for transplantation on the assumption that greater benefit could be obtained by favoring younger candidates, raising questions of equity and age discrimination. At the same time, organs offered for donation by the very old are frequently rejected because of concerns about length of viability. We examine a local case that challenges these practices: the liver from an elderly donor was (...) successfully transplanted into an older patient. After exploring some of the potential problems with such a solution, we propose creating a second pool of organs from the very old for transplantation into older candidates, thus expanding the number of organs available, saving additional lives, and including the elderly more visibly in our transplant system. (shrink)
Modern medicine has put a new twist on one of our most fundamental values: self-determination. Although advance directives may be used to request treatment, this volume limits its focus to their more common function--the refusal of treatment. Timely and comprehensive, it provides a stimulating overview of this relevant topic, addressing such questions as: What are the individual and societal benefits of advance directives? Does an advance directive tamper with the sanctity of life? Will normalizing directives have an adverse effect on (...) the practice of medicine? Should a patient specify treatments to be withheld within a directive? What legal sanctions should apply against those who ignore directives? and What is a physician's role in helping his patient formulate an appropriate directive? (shrink)
While tens of thousands of people across the United States serve on hospital and other healthcare ethics committees , almost no carefully prepared educational material exists for HEC members. Ethics by Committee is a one volume collection of chapters developed exclusively for this educational purpose. Experts in bioethics, clinical consultation, health law, and social psychology from across the country contribute chapters on ethics consultation, education, and policy development.