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example of consequentialism in healthcare

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Thus, according to consequentialism, a morally right act is an act that will produce good results. This chapter outlines core characteristics of Utilitarianism and explores them with regard to their significance in healthcare settings. They define happiness as pleasure, which is also called the hedonistic value theory. The term ‘consequentialism’ was coined by the philosopher G E M Anscombe in her 1958 paper, ‘Modern Moral Philosophy’ (Philosophy 33, No. Consequentialism and non-consequentialism are both action based ethical frameworks that people can use to make ethical judgments. Consequentialism is based on examining the consequences of one’s actions as opposed to non-consequentialism which is focused on whether the act is right or wrong regardless of the outcome (Burgh, Field & Freakley, 2006). For example, telling a lie is a right action if it can have good consequences like saving someone’s life. BY: JOHN PAUL SLOSAR, PhD. We can illustrate the difference by considering an example such as child labour. Imagine you run a factory in a very poor country and a child comes to your door and asks for a job. Keywords: Utility, consequentialism, welfarism, morality, well-being. 124). The Consequentialism theory follows utilitarianists in that good is what generates happiness. Dr. Slosar is director, ethics, Ascension Health, St. Louis. Equality is certainly one of the key principles behind Utilitarian philosophy. of consequentialism, maximization, aggregation and welfare. 1 If this is true, it can also be said that organizational ethics in health care is just now beginning to emerge from its earliest stage of development. It is sometimes said that health care ethics as a profession is in an early stage of its maturation process. It presents Utilitarianism as characterised by the following five features: (1) consequentialism, (2) welfarism, (3) equality of moral status and impartiality, (4) maximisation, (5) aggregation. For example, a Utilitarian ethical approach would be staying late to cover another colleague’s shift in A&E for free if it meant that more people were given treatment. Consequentialism refers to a set of normative ethical theories that states an action should be judged right or wrong on the basis of its consequences. Example: Imagine you are confronted with two options. The action that results in most satisfaction for most people is the best one. This paper analyses the moral implications of applying utilitarian principles in healthcare decisions and illustrate how they relate to the concept of welfarism.

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Taylor B. Jones

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