The Moral Crisis
Rumour … but, with more than a grain of truth! It is heard that Italy has allowed its senior citizens, affected by the Coronavirus, to die without much treatment. The fact is that the Government of Italy has decided to provide medical facilities to those, who are the most likely to survive, on an urgent basis! The issue of priority has become important, because Italy, now, does not have a proper infrastructure to tackle the spread of Coronavirus. Otherwise, Italy – as a country – has a medical infrastructure that is far more modern than many developing countries. It may sound inhuman and dangerous… but, all the affected people would not receive a proper medical care in many countries in the coming days. Naturally, the question arises here is: What yardstick will it be decided as to who would receive the treatment?
At the outset, the most well-known market policy may be taken into account: the one, who agrees to pay the highest price, deserves the service! No healthy society can follow this policy when it comes to medical care. The First Come, First Serve policy, too, is not applicable here… although there is an amount of Fairness in this policy, it lacks Justice. This policy might not consider who’d need the maximum medical care.
As far as the life-preserving medical services are concerned, one should consider the Need, first. Indeed, it is not possible for many a nation to provide proper medical facilities to all its (affected) citizens at this hour of crisis. Else, the State would give the top most priority to the economically weak patients. Or, the State should even consider what would be the most profitable action for the Society while making a final decision in this regard…
The Economic Theories could advise the State to follow the Principle of Maximum Welfare while providing the affected people with medical facilities. In other words, the State should take care of them, who are most likely to survive, and also of them, who could serve the society most, if they survived!
Now, comes the concept of Selection… who will decide on those people, and how? Even if the doctors are allowed to select those people, then also there will be no guarantee that they, who are ready to serve the society, would accept the doctors’ views. They may want to sacrifice their lives, first, in order to arrange medical facilities for their fellow citizens!
This is a critical, as well as dangerous, situation. Perhaps, there is no proper way to solve the problem that would be accepted by majority of the people. It is because the State is yet to develop a fully functional medical infrastructure to overcome this crisis. It seems that Cuba is the only country that has made an attempt to build a solid health infrastructure. Even, South Korea, Singapore and some other countries have the strength to arrange quality medical facilities for the maximum number of people. Therefore, they do not have to think about Priority in case of saving lives. Only those countries that are not entirely equipped with the requisite medical infrastructure to combat this deadly scourge that have failed to build such a medical infrastructure, are facing the Crisis of Morality!
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