Is the treatment/enhancement distinction useful?

N. Fost, D. B. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


It is appealing and common to try to resolve complex ethical dilemmas with simple definitions. Ten years ago, it was widely suggested that whether a child was entitled to treatment with growth hormone (GH) could be resolved by asking whether she or he had the disease called GH deficiency (GHD). The position is no longer prevalent, as treatment is common for many children without GHD. A more recent trend attempts to resolve the issue by distinguishing "treatment" from "enhancement," holding that enhancement is not a proper role of medicine, or at least not an entitlement. This distinction also fails because of ambiguity about the definition of the terms, and because the terms do not seem morally relevant. Many clear "treatments" are not owed to people, and many "enhancements" are widely considered to be entitlements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72S-77S
Issue number4 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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