Dec 112012
 

This week’s topic is self-inflicted health conditions and the right to treatment. Should, for example, smokers get lower priority treatment from the NHS because their illness is a result of their choice to smoke? To what degree is it reasonable to hold patients responsible for there well-being?

We discuss Ofra Golan’s paper “The right to treatment for self-inflicted conditions”. Which question is whether the condition being self-inflicted is relevant and that healthcare should be provided on a needs basis on the grounds of quality.

We also talk to occasional cohost and freelance illustrator Nicola. Being a type 1 diabetic she gives us an insight on possible issues of unfairness regarding allocation of medical resources to type 1 and type 2 diabetics.

Please post your comments on any issues raised in the podcast below.

  2 Responses to “Idle Talk 09 12 12 “self-inflicted health conditions””

  1. Any thoughts?

  2. It is completely unethical to deny any person treatment because of their lifestyle choices.
    1. Medical conditions are complicated and rarely have one cause. There may be genetic factors. For example, even smoking is not guaranteed to cause cancer. It severely increases your risk of cancer, but one smoker may get it, and another will live to 80, simply because one is already predisposed to cancer because of their genetic makeup.
    2. How will you define what is a self-inflicted condition? Where do you draw the line? Smoking? Drinking? Sports injuries? A car crash that you are responsible for?
    3. People who make poor health choices are often from a lower economic bracket. If you were to deny these people treatment because they make bad lifestyle choices, you risk making the gap between rich and poor even worse by creating a 2-tier system.
    4. If you pay your taxes, you have as much right to use the NHS as the next person, regardless of lifestyle.
    5. Even if you don’t pay your taxes (homeless etc) you still have as much right to use the NHS as the next person. It is unethical (from a humanist perspective) to send any sick person who could be treated away. We have a duty of care to look out for the vulnerable in society.

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