The Importance Of Admission To Intensive Care

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Intensive care is an extremely expensive medical resource, and long term survival rates after admission are relatively poor (Parno et al 1982). As a result of both of these factors there are limitations placed on the number of beds available in intensive care units. Once it is acknowledged that these restrictions are necessary, it is important to determine and control exactly how the health service should be affected by these limitations. Admission to ICU could be limited as to provide each individual with the best healthcare available at the time, or to provide maximum fairness to individuals and the greatest utility to society. Throughout this essay, the idea of placing an upper age limit on admission to intensive care is used to illustrate the underlying issue of resource allocation and whether preferential healthcare treatment should be provided to the young. However, this broader issue will also be addressed.

Special care would need to be taken to observe guideline (iii). If an individual is a smoker, a medical professional
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If the young had knowingly compromised their health by indulging in illegal behaviour, smoking, or doing illicit drugs it would not be fair to provide them with treatment at the expense of the elderly. As such, the idea put forward by Daniels to provide preferential medical treatment to the ‘unlucky,’ cannot be absolute. Daniels argues that it is the unlucky (usually the young) who deserve the treatment. An individual (of any age) who had good health and then knowingly compromised this cannot be considered unlucky. These people are foolish or lazy. In comparison to an elderly person who looks after their health and then happened to become sick, I contend that the elderly person is indeed the unlucky one. Thus, the argument from fairness is compelling, but cannot be

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