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Setting Health-Care PrioritiesWhat Ethical Theories Tell Us$
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Torbjörn Tännsjö

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190946883

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190946883.001.0001

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The Maximin/Leximin Theory

The Maximin/Leximin Theory

In Real Life

(p.116) 11 The Maximin/Leximin Theory
Setting Health-Care Priorities

Torbjörn Tännsjö

Oxford University Press

The maximin/leximin theory is applied in real medical life. The general result, in relation to any welfare state assuming its global obligations, is that more resources ought to be directed to the care and cure of people suffering from mental illness; less should be spent on marginal life extension (especially among elderly patients).The urgency of mental health, when the matter is assessed from the point of view of the maximin/leximin theory, has to do with the fact that people often suffer for very long time from mental disease rendering it plausible to assume that many people in this category garner throughout their lives a net deficit in terms of happiness. Hence they are the patients who are worst off. The problem with marginal life extension among elderly patients has to do with the fact that many among them have throughout their long lives already garnered a lot of happiness. Now these people have to stand back when there is fierce competition for available medical resources.

Keywords:   mental health, life extension, neonatal care, care at the end of life, palliative care

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