Friday, August 28, 2009

An Ethical Grounding in Social Justice

Rosemary Flanigan
August 28, 2009

I think too many people see the Patient Self-Determination Act as an expression of autonomy—which it is—but we are social beings, too, and we do not live like ice cubes in an ice cube tray.

So there is always tension in our decisions: good for me/good for others.

So I shall argue that if, in the next 15-20 years, we can chip away at the gross individualism that marks our present culture, if we can adjust our expectations of what I think healthcare should do for me and broaden my understanding to include others (what are the implications for others of my insisting on a feeding tube in my last weeks/months of life?) then I think we are on the way.

And who can help do this? Every community service, every religious body, every schoolroom, wherever people are together trying to fulfill a task.

We need to make explicit reference to our duties and responsibilities to others.

Too idealistic??? Let me know.

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