Medical Ethics PHIL 148 @ Binghamton University, Sum 11


Morality of limiting resources

It is moral for government/private hospital to provide limited resources on a first come first serve basis. Resources are anything that can help an individual get better, but in terms of limited resources I believe these are the crucial and less available things that patients need to continue their lives. For instance receiving any form of organ/ performing any type of surgery.  Think about a little girl who needs a heart transplant and then is placed on a waiting list for a year. Finally her name was at the top of the list and a suitable match was found, but then the heart was given to someone else; how would that child feel knowing that heart was suppose to be given to her and not someone else. I do believe that having the system of first come first serve is effective and orderly.

Deontology views moral life in terms of duties, obligations and what is the right thing to do. To be moral one has to perform actions that are required by moral law and thus this action has a good intention and is done for the sake of duty.  It also emphasizes the quote “Do unto others as you’d have done unto you.” Ross sates that an action is right not because it bring about good consequences but because it is an act that fulfill duties. When these government/private hospitals are limiting resource they are simply doing their duty which is to take care of their patients and provide them with the necessary equipments/ resources that they need to get better. So if there aren’t enough resources for every patient these hospitals are still performing the task/ duty of being an institution that provides health care to its patients. In addition for Ross one has a prima facie to what is right, for example the hospitals have a prima facie duty to provide resources but they also have a prima facie duty to be fair. Knowing that their maybe circumstances when everyone may not get the resources they need, giving health care resources in an orderly is better because at least there are people who are getting the help they need and it is done fairly.

Virtue of ethics is the moral character of an individual; the feeling one gets to help another person. It states that we do what is good in a way to see what is good. Indeed the hospitals are helping their patients; they are giving their patients the resources that they need, acting from the goodness in their hearts. Utilitarianism deals with the maximum happiness; it raises the questions of how much and what kind of happiness each person receives. Mill believes utilitarianism to create the overall good of a certain situation, thus in this situation limited resources can be seen as an overall goodness since people are receiving whatever treatment they need. I believe act-utilitarianism is best linked to this situation; the hospital is faced with this tough decision and has a choice to make so they decide limiting resources on a first come first serve basis is best. Act utilitarianism states that when faced with a decision between A or B we have to consider the consequences of each of the actions and then see which one will create more pleasure/ happiness. In addition justice is giving an individual what he/she deserves; including having one’s right respected and to be treated fairly. We do live in a society where people prefer fairness in any form of area. First come first serve see to it that each patient is treated fairly and for this is believes it is the best solution.

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