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Rule of Rescue vs. Rettung statistischer Leben. / [The Rule of Rescue - Irrational and Discriminating?]

Lübbe, W.
Gesundheitswesen; 79(10): 877-882, 2017 Oct.
Artigo em Alemão | MEDLINE | 2017 | ID: mdl-27144711
Resumo: State of the debate: The "Rule of Rescue" refers to the practice that, in order to save people from immediate peril, societies incur high costs largely irrespective of the fact that many more lives could be saved under alternative uses of the resources. The practice has been found difficult to explain, let alone justify, and has often been criticized. In the early literature in the context of the Oregon rationing experiment, the irrationality objection dominated in view of the obvious lack to consider opportunity costs. More recent contributions, taking account of the declining support for purely efficiency-oriented prioritization approaches, advance an equity objection: The practice discriminates against statistical lives. Intent of the present contribution: This article provides a critical assessment of both objections. Results: The following contentions result from the analysis: 1. The equity objection is unfounded; 2. Following the rule of rescue is (in a certain sense) inefficient, but it is not irrational; 3. The criticized judgments result from deep-seated shortcomings in the action-theoretical concepts used (or rather, omitted) in the literature. These shortcomings are inherent in the consequentialist framework dominating the debate and deserve more attention.