Criminal Punishment: Does It Include Denial of Scarce Medical Resources?
A nursing student wrote me the following: "This reason for my e-mail is we are having to do a Ethical Presentation and our group has the Ethical dilemma of 'Should Scarce Medical Resources Be Used On Prisoners'? I was wondering if you or someone else had some information they would like to offer to us as research or questions that would be good to ask our fellow classmates while presenting this information to them to get their feedback and opinions on this matter that we are faced with on an everyday basis."
I wrote her back the following:
"One issue that should be discussed is whether the courts or even the U.S. Constitution would permit punishment of criminals to extend beyond incarceration to the denial of a prisoner the same possibility of healthcare as any other person. I doubt it. For example, a prisoner deserves the same opportunity for a life-saving organ transplant as any other patient. The same considerations should be applied including the probability of benefit including the absence of other diseases or conditions which would limit the value of the transplant and the capacity of the patient to follow through on the essential lifetime post transplant medical management. Best wishes on your presentation."
My question to my blog visitors would be: does everyone agree with my reply. If not, why not. In addition, are there any other issues that should be covered by the nursing student in her presentation regarding the use of scarce medical resources on prisoners? ..Maurice.