Disability

Disability

Order Description

A- The essay should be answering questions regarding this article in the URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/19/magazine/19healthcare-t.html

Short summery of the topic in the article:
According to Peter Singer, disability advocates argue that everyone has an equal right to life. Only a disabled person, they claim, is in a reasonable position to judge whether a life with a serious disability such as quadriplegia is as good as a life without it. However, Singer takes the contrary position, viz. that if a life with quadriplegia is as good as life without it, there is no health benefit to be gained by curing it (a position with which disability advocates will obviously reject as sophistry and illusion).

Singer also gives the following example of how a QALY can be used to calculate the benefit of life-value: “If we return to the hypothetical assumption that a year with quadriplegia is valued at only half as much as a year without it, then a treatment that extends the lives of people without disabilities will be seen as providing twice the value of one that extends, for a similar period, the lives of quadriplegics.” In short, the QALY, according to Singer, tells us “to do what brings about the greatest health benefit, irrespective of where that benefit falls.”

QUESTIONS to be answered:

Singer seems to suggest or imply that the life year of a severely disabled person might be worth much less than that of a person without a disability.

1- Is Singer’s way of evaluating and measuring the value of a human life — based upon the utilitarian idea of a QALY — ethically justifiable?
2- Do you think this approach discriminates against persons with disabilities?
3- Do you agree or disagree with Singer’s idea mentioned above?
State the reasons why you agree or disagree.
4- If you agree, what implications does Singer’s position have for the rest of us?