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Envying Cinderella and the future of medical enhancements
  1. A Volandes
  1. Correspondence to:
 A Volandes
 Center for Bioethics, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02144, USA; avolandes{at}


The medical profession is increasingly absorbing technologies that offer medical care that is more luxury than need. From foot sculpting surgeries to breast and pectoral implants, physicians are increasingly putting patients under the knife to improve on the normal, to make better than well. Medicine’s enthusiasm for absorbing such technologies may corrode the moral priority that it has traditionally held as a profession. Medicine’s moral status declines when it both provides medical luxuries and meets medical needs. Patients without health care will increasingly envy patients who receive healthcare luxuries. Instead, however, of doing away with such luxuries, medicine can institute a pay scheme whereby medical luxuries help subsidise care for those without health care. In this fashion, any feelings of envy are pre-empted and the profession retains its moral status.

  • enhancements
  • liberalism
  • John Rawls
  • medical care
  • genetics
  • envy

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