Analysis Of ' Qalyfying The Value Of Life ' By John Harris Essay example

772 Words Nov 24th, 2015 4 Pages
In the Journal of Med Ethics article, “QALYfying the Value of Life,” John Harris discusses the Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY). He explains the system’s purpose is to determine where to allocate healthcare in cases where there is not enough resources to provide for everyone. It is based on the assumption that most people would prefer a shorter life of higher quality than a longer life with higher suffering. Harris’s primary critique of the system is that it does not handle cases where deciding who to treat is the primary concern.
Harris provides a scenario that demonstrates the QALY favoring a decision opposite what he claims is best for society. In the example there are 8 eight people who all will die without treatment, all but one will gain a single year of remission after treatment and the eighth will get 7 seven years remission, so the total number of years saved is equal in both cases. The deciding factor is the cost, the eighth person’s treatment is five times as expensive as the others but there are seven of them, so per year saved treating the one person is more cost effective.
This policy of efficiency “does not value life or lives at all” and that when individuals lose their life “the loss is principally [their] loss.” The individual dying would most likely agree that they would prefer a shorter quality life to a longer one of suffering, but this does not imply they would choose someone else lives over them even if they must suffer. He makes the argument that…

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