The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 18, Issue 4, Winter 2018

Jillian J. Boerstler
Pages 619-626

Repeat Valve Replacement in Substance-Addicted Patients

An emerging ethical dilemma in light of the opioid crisis, repeat cardiac valve replacements for patients diagnosed with endocarditis from intravenous drug use presents specific challenges to Catholic health care organizations. While secular health care is tasked with the allocation of scarce resources, Catholic institutions must address additional considerations when balancing stewardship of scarce resources, human dignity, and patient accountability. A recent ethics consultation illustrates the issues involved in multiple valve replacements for substance-addicted patients from a Catholic ethical perspective. The discussion includes policy recommendations and ethical reflections.