The Duty to Rescue and Investigators' Obligations

Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 27 (1):71-105 (2017)
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The duty to rescue is a highly plausible and powerful ethical principle. It requires agents to assist others in extreme need in cases where doing so does not conflict with some weighty moral aim; requires little personal sacrifice; and is likely to significantly benefit the recipients.1 As a general obligation, it binds all persons simply qua persons, and it is owed to all persons simply qua persons. Clinical investigators working in low-income countries frequently encounter sick or destitute people to whom they might possess a duty to rescue. Investigators may often ask themselves, what can I do, what should I do, to help? Such investigators often help people in the future by carrying out their...

Author Profiles

Tina Rulli
University of California, Davis
Douglas MacKay
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


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