Chronic Illness: A Systems Approach
Dr Tom Walker, Senior Lecturer in Ethics, School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics, Queen's University Belfast
Wednesday, 06 February 2019, 11am to 12.30pm
Ethox and the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities are based at the Big Data Institute, University of Oxford, Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Information and Discovery, Old Road Campus, Oxford OX3 7LF. This talk will be held in the Level 1 Meeting Room. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to attend.
Much of the treatment for people with long term chronic illness aims at counteracting, as far as possible, their illness’ negative effects on their ability to live life on their own terms. If we focus solely on the healthcare professionals involved, we necessarily have to treat as fixed much of the environment within which this treatment takes place. Those healthcare professionals cannot directly affect that environment. But others can. Making those alterations can affect, sometimes considerably, the treatment’s effectiveness. That raises two questions: 1. Do those outside the health service have any moral obligations to bring about such changes?, and 2. Are there good moral reasons why they should, or should not, be required to do so? This paper addresses these questions. In doing so it sidesteps debates about paternalism (the most common framing for interventions of this type) because the cases I am concerned with here are not, on standard accounts of paternalism, paternalistic.