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From The CriticsReviewer: Martha J. Greenberg, PhD, RN (Pace University)
Description: This book considers the ethical issues of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) starting with a discourse on the meaning of ethics and ethical theories in healthcare. Common ethical issues encountered in CAM practice from the provider's and patient's perspectives are noted. The final third of the book analyzes distinct ethical issues of therapies grouped together sharing a common approach.
Purpose: The two underlying purposes guiding this book are to provide a discourse on ethics in CAM with justification for, or lack of justification for, applying traditional bioethical theories to CAM and to discuss the identification of key ethical practice and research issues in CAM. Although some of the information on ethical theories may be redundant, there is very practical information on ethical principles and practical suggestions for avoiding ethical problems. For example, suggested ways to formalize consent should help practitioner to eradicate patient misunderstanding, legal action, or professional complaints.
Audience: Aimed at practitioners and students of CAM, this guide is also appropriate for conventional health care providers and patients who wish to critically examine prospective CAM practitioners. This is the second book that author Julie Stone, a lecturer in Ethics and Law, has published. The first was targeted at CAM and the law.
Features: Undoubtedly the most important chapters of this book are those that concentrate on the application of ethics with short case studies from practice. Examples from clinical situations are presented to illustrate key points interspersed with commentary about ethical-legal points. A wide variety of clinical issues are discussed, such as diagnosis by reflexologists, negotiating contracts within a therapeutic relationship, withholding remedy names by homeopaths.
Assessment: This esoteric yet practical little book appears to stand alone in the field. No other books are quite like it. Other texts such as Callahan's The Role of Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Accommodating Pluralism (Georgetown University Press, 2002) is more research based than this. Stone especially fills a void for students and clinicians.