Kay Ely-Pierce


Advances in health care technology have forged a mighty sword in the ongoing battle against illness and death. That sword, however, is doubleedged and unfortunately has not been presented with guidance for its judicious use. Our health care system provides the technological power to prolong life, or perhaps more accurately to "sustain bodily functions" indefinitely, yet it has not compelled us, as a society, to seriously ask, "should we?" And, if we should, "when and for whom, and under what circumstances?" This is the ethical legacy of health care in the 20th century. There is but a short time to amend that legacy and promote a logical, reasoned and fair use of technologies, grounded in distributive justice for the 21st century.