Distributive justice and patient selection
Yarrison, Rebecca Bartley
Doctor of Philosophy
There are not always enough medical resources to go around and pluralist theories of decision making generally do not explain the principle of justice in a way that provides action-guidance. I adopt a modified and expanded form of the claims-based approach of Rescher and Broome as the framework for a substantive and action-guiding theory of distributive justice. The resulting theory is that limited resources should be distributed according to the strength of a person's entitlement to a resource. In order to determine a person's entitlement, one must determine what context-relevant rights the person has and the strength of his or her claim to the resource, which is determined by a weighing up of context-relevant considerations, which are facts about a person's condition or situation within a certain context that ceteris paribus generate some kind of duty that they be given (or denied, depending on the consideration) the resource. Since both of these are context dependent, I discuss patients' entitlements in terms of limited medical resources.