Submission Title

Standards of Medicine and the Human Right to Healthcare

Presenter Information

Nikolija Lukich, BSc, MA, Center for Healthcare Ethics, Duquesne University

Abstract

The right to healthcare is seemingly universal, but in practice, it may not manifest itself in the same way for everyone. There are areas in our worldwide community in which citizens do not fully ‘experience’ their right to healthcare, nor is that right valued or upheld. If it is internationally agreed upon that this right exists, what is the solution if a country as a whole is unable to uphold this right? Factors such as poverty, economic distress, or environmental concerns can all have an effect on a country’s healthcare system and its implementation. Each country may have to determine its own priorities and decide which methods are most appropriate for reaching its most critical healthcare goals. The provision of medical care for all will be altered by the amount of available access to resources and technology a country has, and a state’s economic resources will influence how much money is available to spend on healthcare, as well as how many people are able to be served. This may result in a lower standard of healthcare for its citizens; some procedures and basic treatments may be available, but the “highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,” as defined by the World Health Organization, will not be as high as preferred. It may be argued that once a person’s right to appropriate healthcare is at risk, the universality of that human right is compromised. An acceptable standard of healthcare becomes a privilege possessed only by those who can afford it.

School

McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Advisor

Henk ten Have

Submission Type

Paper

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Standards of Medicine and the Human Right to Healthcare

The right to healthcare is seemingly universal, but in practice, it may not manifest itself in the same way for everyone. There are areas in our worldwide community in which citizens do not fully ‘experience’ their right to healthcare, nor is that right valued or upheld. If it is internationally agreed upon that this right exists, what is the solution if a country as a whole is unable to uphold this right? Factors such as poverty, economic distress, or environmental concerns can all have an effect on a country’s healthcare system and its implementation. Each country may have to determine its own priorities and decide which methods are most appropriate for reaching its most critical healthcare goals. The provision of medical care for all will be altered by the amount of available access to resources and technology a country has, and a state’s economic resources will influence how much money is available to spend on healthcare, as well as how many people are able to be served. This may result in a lower standard of healthcare for its citizens; some procedures and basic treatments may be available, but the “highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,” as defined by the World Health Organization, will not be as high as preferred. It may be argued that once a person’s right to appropriate healthcare is at risk, the universality of that human right is compromised. An acceptable standard of healthcare becomes a privilege possessed only by those who can afford it.