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Allocation of the Scarce Biomedical Resources

The ranges of possible diseases and the number of theoretical scenarios for human morbidity are truly enormous. Such great diversity makes it extremely difficult to provide all patients with the necessary resources. Consequently, an ethical question arises of setting priorities for the allocation of medical supplies. This paper aims to analyze the available approaches to solving this problem and choose the most morally acceptable one.

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The question posed is a global task that should be performed at the administration level. The area that deals with these problems is bioethics, and it includes issues related to the interests of large social groups within the entire health care system (Mentorsgallery, 2010). However, many conflicting approaches determine the solution to this problem, and each of them has its characteristics. The allocation of priorities can be carried out through a variety of approaches.

First of all, it should be noted that, in many cases, the decision is not made strictly according to one criterion. Therefore the “combination of criteria” approach occurs quite often. However, its moral analysis is complicated due to the presence of a large number of simultaneously influencing factors. Nevertheless, among the strategies directly related to the patient’s condition, the prognosis for recovery, priority for the sickest or the youngest patients, and behavioral characteristics are usually distinguished (Krütli, 2016). Regarding the person’s position in the health care system, specialists mention creating waiting lists, assessing the importance of an individual to the structure or society, and a random lottery approach.

Analyzes and surveys among medical personnel, students, and patients give conflicting results, contrasting with ethical specialists’ moral assessment. The methods that receive the most approval from both lay people and doctors are considered morally unjustified by these experts (Krütli, 2016). According to statistics, the preferred principle for allocating medical resources is assigning them to the individuals who need them most (Krütli, 2016). In this case, more attention should be paid to those who are directly faced with that moral choice, rather than those who study it purely theoretically.

This approach has many advantages since it primarily meets the patient’s strict needs. The method means providing the necessary resources, such as hospital beds or organ transplants, to those who need it most and, for example, are likely to die without these supplies (Krütli, 2016). Both specialists and patients find the approach appropriate, as it allows the effective prevention of the most life-threatening situations. From a moral point of view, such a decision is also one of the most justified, since doctors may help those in need.

Following this technique, forecasting and waiting list methods are also highly rated. However, forecasting can be delayed, and queuing is against the moral of the treatment. Being in a queue may mean that getting a person’s necessary surgery can happen after a long time, during which the patient’s condition can significantly worsen. Although such a decision is fair, since it gives everyone equal rights, it does not address the individual’s personal needs. Specialists appreciate the behavioral approach, but it loses to other methods from a moral point of view. For example, a liver transplant to alcoholics is not morally correct since they ruined their health themselves (Krütli, 2016). Finally, the lowest, both from a practical and a moral point of view, are various ways of dividing society into groups by age or by the level of benefits. Such an attitude is unacceptable since it focuses on qualities that are not related to the patient’s health.

Thus, among all the existing criteria for the distribution of limited biomedical supplies, the most effective and morally justified is to set the highest priority for people in the worst situation. Using this method allows you to best address the personal demands of people and help precisely those who need it most. However, the most unacceptable is the allocation of resources taking into account qualities that are not related to the patient’s health, such as effectiveness or value to the system.

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Krütli, P., Rosemann, T., Törnblom, K. Y., & Smieszek, T. (2016). How to fairly allocate scarce medical resources: Ethical argumentation under scrutiny by health professionals and lay people. PloS one, 11(7), e0159086. Web.

Mentorsgallery. (2010). Robert Veatch – Bioethics [Video]. YouTube. Web.

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"Allocation of the Scarce Biomedical Resources." StudyCorgi, 2 Jan. 2022,

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StudyCorgi. "Allocation of the Scarce Biomedical Resources." January 2, 2022.


StudyCorgi. 2022. "Allocation of the Scarce Biomedical Resources." January 2, 2022.


StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Allocation of the Scarce Biomedical Resources'. 2 January.

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