ABSTRACT

In his recent and controversial book, Setting Limits, Daniel Callahan has put forth a provocative thesis: that “intergenerational equity” might require us to rethink some of the traditional goals of medicine as they affect care that is provided to the elderly. Specifically, Callahan suggests that the increasing numbers of the elderly, coupled with medicine’s increased technological capabilities, create the potential within medicine for “an unending medical struggle against aging and death” that is, perhaps, not properly one of medicine’s “deepest ends” or goals.