Thursday, April 30, 2020

COVID-19, rationing and the question of age

Discussions about the role that age should or should not play when allocating medical resources during the COVID-19 crisis have been deeply revealing. Probably no bioethicist would come out in favor of basing such decisions simply on (older) age, though there is no problem finding such opinions on Twitter. But many bioethicists heavily rely on likelihood of recovery and number of years of life expected post-treatment in their favored allocation schemes, which in the context of COVID-19 will frequently come down to the same thing. In addition, constructs like the 'life cycle' or the 'fair innings' view are often sprinkled into the decision-making recommendations, i.e. the idea that all other things being equal, resources like mechanical ventilation should be given to those who have not yet been able to enjoy all stages in life's course. It is probably safe to say that, in most influential bioethics allocation schemes, age is not your friend.

These ways of thinking about age and rationing have been defended by prominent bioethicists for years, pre-COVID. Some of their limitations have been pointed out over the years, and in the wake of COVID-19, they are being pointed out again. As Harald Schmidt writes in the New York Times, despite the appearance of impartiality and equity, the criteria of likelihood of recovery and number of years of life expected post-treatment in fact biases access to medical care against those in society whose infected bodies were already compromised by racial, class and other factors. In addition, the idea of making decisions that favor youth over the aged on the basis of 'fair innings' is problematic for similar reasons. Just because a person is old does not mean that they had a good time of it: this confuses quality and quantity. Those who have suffered from systemic discrimination throughout their lives have had 'unfair innings'. And now, on top of all that, they are accorded less priority for medical resources during a pandemic, because they had the audacity to stick around. The common thread here is that commonly promoted allocation criteria fail to acknowledge how their implementation could compound existing social injustice.

But there is also something else. These allocation criteria are commonly promoted as if they are obvious and universally accepted. But there are good reasons to question this, as Nancy Jecker points out in a recent article in The Hastings Center Report (#behindapaywallgoddammit). Moral standing associated with age differs in different cultural contexts. In some countries, youth are favored over those who are old for a number of reasons, including the idea that youth are or are potentially 'more productive' than those who are old. Such countries tend towards a 'hourglass' conception of the life course, i.e. that your moral status gradually diminishes over time, which is supposed to explain why the death of a child is more tragic than the death of an older person. But in other contexts have alternative conceptions of the life course and aging where, if anything, some societies tend to discriminate against the young, and understand the moral importance of a person as something that grows over time and in that person's relationships with others. From this perspective, an older person is not someone lacking in utility whose allotment of time is running out, but someone who has gradually accumulated worth ('become more human') in the community.

There is no way of determining which conception of aging and moral standing is 'correct'. The point here is rather that criteria commonly proposed for the allocation of scarce medical resources in prestigious journals by prominent bioethicists during the COVID-19 crisis carry with them a number of underlying cultural assumptions. Making life-altering decisions on their basis may appear perfectly appropriate in some contexts, but expecting one size to fit all is unreasonable. And this matters in a global pandemic.

Labels: , , ,


Blogger shopify said...

We likewise offer a professional team of support. It’s available day and night. Do My College Assignment For Me

6:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing about Hanging Planters. You Content is really informative us.......
Hanging Planter
Wall Hanging Planter

6:12 AM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

We work with a team of professionals who are licensed, insured, certified, and dedicated to showing quality work in the landscape so that your property looks best and stands out. Our team is efficient, and our measures effectively ensure the safe delivery of the work systems. Click here Landscaping Services in california

2:27 PM  
Blogger jan said...

Thanks for the great content sir .i will also share with my friends & once again Thanks a Lot.

The World's Trusted Online Pharmacy Stores for Australia,USA, UK, Canada and EU .Buy Generic Medicine We offer wide range of Generic Product with quality.







1:24 AM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

i read your blog its have good stuff. i really like it and its was informative. keep sharing this type of post. Click Here home inspections katy tx

12:58 PM  
Blogger wills flake said...

Best Assignment Expert's provide you the Best Assignment Help within your budget.

5:31 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

visit |
visit |
visit |
visit |
visit |
visit |
visit |
visit |
visit |

5:10 AM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

Corona virus is highly effected on health and wealth. Covid 19 totally disturb international system. Moreover laser cut locksmith near me provide the best locksmith services. Our trained mobile car locksmith technicians are ready to perform any types of service

3:29 PM  
Blogger MATINA said...

I was diagnosed as HEPATITIS B carrier in 2013 with fibrosis of the
liver already present. I started on antiviral medications which
reduced the viral load initially. After a couple of years the virus
became resistant. I started on HEPATITIS B Herbal treatment from
ULTIMATE LIFE CLINIC ( in March, 2020. Their
treatment totally reversed the virus. I did another blood test after
the 6 months long treatment and tested negative to the virus. Amazing
treatment! This treatment is a breakthrough for all HBV carriers.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Animal Zone said...


10:59 AM  
Blogger Divya said...

Thanks for sharing about wall painting. Your Blog is really informative for us.......

Online Big Wall Painting
Ganesha Wall Painting Online
Buddha Wall Painting Online
Buy Ganesha Painting Online

6:22 AM  
Blogger James David said...

Well-written informative post. You have mentioned such valuable information for beginners. It helps them a lot. Good work, keep it up. by affordable embroidery digitizing

10:47 AM  
Blogger TOOD MILLER said...

Great work dear, make more blogs like this one. custom embroidery digitizing

6:52 AM  
Blogger Kaylee Brown said...

There is generally a page-wise or question-wise pricing and the price is fixed for a particular question. If you want to save some money on your accounting assignment, then you have to send in the assignment request 1-2 weeks before the delivery date. This way you can save some extra money. There are also offers and counts on most of the websites. If you don't like the assignment or if you think that the quality is below par, then you can also ask for a refund.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Alice Bryan said...

It's so amazing when one finally finds joy in achieving something that’s so important to humans, which is sound good health, bcs there’s nothing more beautiful than having good health and  being free from disease and infections. I don’t even know what else to say or rather how to express my joy, but it must! Be voiced out for thy Lord God Almighty is worthy to be praised . I never knew or believed I would be cured from my hsv2. It is a miracle and a thing of joy, just two weeks of me following some real and fast effective protocols I was able to eradicate my long term genital herpes. I can boldly say that I’m now herpes negative. I’m cured from my HSV2. I’m so excited . I’m willing to help anyone who’s out there still suffering from the herpes virus. If you need any assistance on how to get rid of your herpes virus just the way I got rid of mine within two weeks, just email herbal Dr. Kham at Doctor Kham is also available on WhatsApp (+2348159922297)   and you will share your healing protocols the way I just did or visit his website at             

12:44 AM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

You select the best topic for writing. All the information is very helpful for us. Further, If you are worried related to garage floor repairing and installation work then I suggest yo to hire garage floor epoxy services in Alpharetta ga for quality work.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Dilli Ka khana By Hamza Khan said...

Thanks for the great content sir . visit

8:34 AM  
Blogger Essien said...

This is a very useful and important information, it was so useful to me and other readers, thank you for always feeding the readers with interesting and useful information. Thank you so much for sharing. Also visit coe-waka-biu cut off mark for history

5:06 AM  
Blogger Essien said...

Its a great joy surfing from your blog. I really huge to thank you for the good and amazing work done on this site. Thanks for always sharing. Also visit fce-eha-amufu cut off mark for management science

8:33 AM  
Blogger Adele Hansley said...

Do you find it difficult to write your projects on your own? Relax, your assignment tension is now on Sample Assignment's shoulders. Many students find it difficult to keep their academic balance by finishing their university projects on their own due to the short deadlines of complex tasks. As a result, they seek expert assistance to do my assignment. Sample Assignment is a service provider that supplies students in Canada with professional and economical assignment writing services. Sample Assignment has a team of over 5000 academic writers who aid students in Canada with their assignments. Students can deliver their college assignments on time by using their homework assistance services.

2:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best travel bags for vacations dedicated to travel enthusiasts.

5:44 AM  
Blogger jane said...

Awesome! Great article and information are very very helpful. This blog is always been my first choice to read, Thanks For sharing.

Megri Embroidery Digitizing

6:51 AM  
Blogger Emdigitizer said...

Read my Blogs

How To Embroider On Velvet – Complete Tutorial

What Is An Embroidery Knockdown Stitch?

10 Best Sewing Chairs for Comfortable Sewing and Embroidery

7:30 AM  
Blogger globelmeds said...

Cenforce 130 mg is a medication which is used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction or impotence in men.This medicine contains a salt named as sildenafil citrate (130 mg) which acts as it's main active ingredient used in the composition.This medicine contains a little bit of strong dosage so as a beginner you can start with something lower.


12:54 AM  
Blogger newtechlife said...

"Remote work is revolutionizing the workplace! Embracing flexibility and connectivity, it fosters productivity and work-life balance. Excited to see how this trend shapes the future of employment."
regards:The Future of Remote Work

8:31 PM  
Blogger Hart Williams said...

Absolutely! Custom embroidery digitizing seamlessly blends traditional artistry with modern technology, embodying the essence of digital transformation.

5:15 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home