Ethics & Aging in Southern California

By Walters, James W. | The Hastings Center Report, March-April 1991 | Go to article overview

Ethics & Aging in Southern California


Walters, James W., The Hastings Center Report


Ethics & Aging in Southern California

An Ethics and Aging Project, sponsored by the Ethics Center at Loma Linda University, ran throughout fall 1990 in the greater Los Angeles area. Funded by a $171,300 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the project was designed to enlighten the public and to demonstrate how the humanities can illuminate the question of allocation of health care resources.

The project consisted of four aspects:

A national conference in San Bernardino of twenty specialists in the areas of ethics, medicine, and public policy;

A lecture series spanning three months held at two Southern California locations, with presentations by John C. Bennett, Daniel Callahan, Phillipa Foot, Richard D. Lamm, and Edward Schneider;

Fifteen community forums throughout the area led by humanities scholars discussing the use of age as the guideline for rationing care, coordinated by California Health Decisions. A booklet of excerpts from the writings of Callahan and Joseph Fletcher was a catalyst for discussion.

The planned publication of an anthology based on the papers presented at the conference and in the lecture series.

Three identifiable points of consensus (surely not without exceptions) emerged from the conference, lectures, and community discussions:

(1) Reasonable restrictions on the delivery of health care must be set. …

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