Abstract

ABSTRACT:

Ventricular assist device (VAD) care offers a distinctive lens through which we can explore unjust gender norms. This is a resource-intensive intervention, one in which increasingly sophisticated technology brings with it the need for more long-term care. This care work is demanding, involving device maintenance, medication and appointment management, household work, and emotional support. Most patients eligible for receiving VADs are men, so it is not surprising that it is more often women who are responsible for the care of patients with VADs. Still, there is room to question why so much of this labor is expected of and taken on by female caregivers, when it could be shared with male caregivers and even patients themselves. To the extent that gender difference in the distribution of this labor is avoidable and inequitable, it becomes in part a disparity resulting from unjust social norms. In order to unpack some of this injustice, the authors utilize empiric data and theoretical work in feminist ethics to articulate some of the mechanisms of the gender disparity in VAD care labor and to offer communitarian decision-making and redistribution of care labor as potential routes toward greater justice for women with respect to VAD therapy.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 640-656
Launched on MUSE
2019-11-21
Open Access
No
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