August 10, 2001
Reply by author to letter to the editor by Randolph on Administrative Ethics and the Allocation of Scarce Resources by P.J. Maddox, EdD, MSN, RN (December 31, 1998)
P.J. Maddox's response:
I continue to be encouraged and impressed with the thoughtful responses received on the resource allocation article. Awareness of the difficulty and complexity related to resource allocation at all levels of our health system and society is a first step toward more open and ethically explicit decision-making. We need further dialogue about the differing values and priorities that drive the decisions we are entrusted to make, whether we are doing so as health professionals, system managers, consumers or policy-makers. Because there are no easy formulas or value-correct approaches that fit all situations, an open dialogue about the reality of our circumstances weighed against competing demands, benefits and differing values and goals is important for decisional considerations.
As we have noted before, the U.S.A. has the most economically advantaged society and health system in the world. Part of good care is good stewardship of our resources. A real and open dialogue about the complexity of decision making and the ethical principles imbedded in them is critical. I hope that this OJIN article continues to encourage discussion about the importance of explicit resource allocation decisions and serves to further the dialogue on the important dilemmas we face as administrators, health care professionals and socially responsible citizens. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!