I claim that the shift from viewing the patient-health care provider relationship from (A) one of a professional advocating for the welfare of his/her patient to (B) a business transaction is immoral because the primary motivations of the health care provider and the business person are fundamentally different. In support of this position, I offer two arguments. First, I argue that the patient-health care provider relationship is not a business relationship. Second, I argue that the patient-health care provider relationship cannot be altered in order to make this relationship into a business relationship without forcing the health care provider to act immorally.
In order to make these arguments, I illustrate two major points. First, viewing the patient-provider relationship as a business transaction results from a misunderstanding, either of the nature of a business interaction or of the fundamental principles of medical care. This mistaken understanding of the incapability of the two types of interactions leads to the false conclusion that the patient-provider relationship can be viewed as a business relationship. Second, it is immoral to attempt to alter the patient-provider relationship in order to make said relationship a business relationship because doing so necessarily eliminates the essential virtue involved in patient care, namely beneficence.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. July 2009. Major: Philosophy. Advisors: Valerie Tiberius, Debra DeBruin. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 124 pages.
Johnson, Britt E..
The business of beneficence: the commodification of the patient-health care provider relationship..
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