But fairness and equality of outcomes is a hollow victory if, in our rush to find simple solutions, we destroy our capacity for the practice of medicine. Illness itself is spread inequitably and, in large part, blindly across the human race. On that reading, life's outcomes are already unfair. The best possible response to that suffering does not lie alone in resolving issues of access. It also lies in preserving the effort to find an effective cure for the illnesses that threaten our lives. Without it, access will mean very little.
Note: The Reverend Dr. Frederick W. Schmidt serves as an ethics and patient safety consultant to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. Widely published, he is in the process of writing The Dave Test: Caring for Ourselves and One Another when Life Sucks (Abingdon, Fall, 2013).