Philosophy:Rule of Rescue

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The Rule of Rescue is a term coined by A.R. Jonsen in 1986 that is used in a variety of bioethics contexts:[1]

  • 'a perceived duty to save endangered life where possible' (Bochner et al., 1994, pp901)
  • 'the sense of immediate duty that people feel towards those who present themselves to a health service with a serious condition' (Nord et al., 1995b, pp90)
  • 'an ethical imperative to save individual lives even when money might be more efficiently spent to prevent deaths in the larger population'(Doughety, 1993, pp1359)
  • 'the powerful human proclivity to rescue a single identified endangered life, regardless of cost, at the expense of any nameless faces who will therefore be denied health care' (Osborne and Evans, 1994, pp779)

See also


  1. McKie, John & Jeff Richardson (2003) "The Rule of Rescue" Social Science & Medicine Volume 56, Issue 12, June 2003, Pages 2407-2419