As the death toll on Mount Everest hits a four-year high, a debate is brewing over whether the Nepalese government should limit the number of permits it issues to prospective climbers. Eleven people have died on Everest this year.

Medical ethicist Arthur Caplan believes that restrictions should be placed on the number of climbers allowed to summit Everest — both to protect the fragile environment on the mountain and to prevent further loss of life. Caplan is the Drs. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty Chair and director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, and the co-host of the "Everyday Ethics" podcast.

"We ought to have restrictions on who can do it, we ought to have restrictions on how many can do it in the high season, we ought to have some kind of, I would say, physician certification that you're fit enough to do it," Caplan told Boston Public Radio Wednesday.

Caplan added that many climbers who attempt to summit Everest do so without being physically prepared for the rigors of the climb, which can put their own lives and the lives of others in danger.

"They're not expert enough to do it, nor are they in shape to do it. You'd think [the Nepalese government] would want to hold physicals," he said.