'Quality Adjusted Life Years'

Lives are far too precious to be viewed according to "'quality adjusted life years."


(Gina, did you know when she first came aboard that Amanda would immediately write with the insight and pith of a much more seasoned blogger, or has that been a pleasant surprise?) // Amanda, in Oregon (where physician-assisted suicide - "PAS" - has been legal for some time) we've had an ongoing debate about what "quality" means when applied to a life. What's fascinating is that the advocates for PAS insist that a determination of quality lies solely in the hands of the individual, while with QALY the individual has little or no say. That could set us up for a very interesting clash of beliefs in the future, sort of like the town halls but supercharged, and possibly even re-opening the Terri Schiavo debate. The conclusion of the Bible, particularly the book of Job but also most of the Prophets, is that God, not mankind and not even the individual themselves, is the determiner of quality. (To Hosea, among others, God says "Your life is going to be worse than you can imagine, but I need you to do this.") Of course, that argument holds little weight in the most unchurched state in the USA, and would raise howls of protest from atheists about being required to pray over every end-of-life decision, but it's certainly a thought-provoking position.

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