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Module 17: Justice in Medicine

Upon completion of this module, the resident should be able to:

  1. Define differing concepts or types of justice and identify those that are most relevant to health care.
  2. Define and distinguish among competing concepts of health care (that is, health care as a commodity, a legal right, a human right, and a human good).
  3. Identify and describe the conflict between commutative and distributive justice in health care.
  4. Identify benchmarks or criteria of a just health care system from an egalitarian point of view.
  5. Describe guidelines for physicians and resource allocation.
  6. Clarify and refine his or her own values and ethical commitments with respect to the question, What is the role of physicians in health care reform?

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Additional Resources

The website of Medical Advocates/Ethics and Infectious Disease with a portal to a range of published abstracts and articles on distributive and social justice in health care can be found at:

Is health care special?  When are health inequalities unjust?  And, how can competing health care needs be met justly, under conditions of health care constraints?  These three questions are address in a paper by Harvard’s Norman Daniels that can be found at:

The advocacy organization, Common Good, is bipartisan in nature and exists to promote universal health care; its health care segment can be found at:

An article on three principles of justice for health care rationing can be found at:

The Rand Corporation is an excellent source of well conducted research studies on health care services and health outcomes; the segment of its website focused on health care can be found at:

The website of Physicians for a National Health Program can be found at:

An excellent article by philosopher/ethicist Erich Loewy on health care justice can be found at:; another by two physicians, Putsch and Pololi, can be found at:  A third can be accessed at:

Posttest / Transcript

Module: 17 ETHICSMOD-17 Justice in Medicine Posttest Available  

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