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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Michele K Langowski, MA, JD (Saint Louis University)
Description: This is the newest addition to case-based clinical ethics books.
Purpose: Recognizing the need for a teaching resource that merges medical ethics theory with the practical issues confronted in patient-centered clinical medicine, the purpose of this book is "to provide a method for the reader to learn how to systematically manage dilemmas seen in the everyday practice of medicine."
Audience: The authors, an internal medicine physician and health care ethicist, have several audiences in mind for the book: medical students and residents, nursing students, undergraduate and graduate medical ethics courses, as well as clinicians.
Features: The 25 clinical ethics cases include "typical" patient scenarios and corresponding ethical dilemmas encountered in the healthcare setting, but with an evidence-based medicine approach. Each case begins with a detailed account of the patient's clinical presentation, followed by an explanation of the ethical dilemma and two or three short thought questions posed to the healthcare provider. There is a brief overview of the relevant evidence-based medicine, general legal precedent, and the ethical principles that apply in the specific situation.
Assessment: The authors do not provide ethical resolution of cases. Instead, at the end of each case presentation, readers are told to "consider delving further into the background medical literature to assist with making sound therapeutic decisions. Devise a treatment approach that addresses the needs of the patient and his [her] family, that is both ethically and medically sound, and that is culturally competent. Ensure that the strategy employs fair and appropriate utilization of medical resources, and that the approach is practical and feasible within the limits of the medical system at large." While the emphasis on evidence-based medicine is a modern approach, the case scenarios and ethical dilemmas are very familiar.