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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Thomas Christoffel, JD (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Description: This is the fifth edition of a review of the leading legal issues relevant to health care delivery and health care administration.
Purpose: The authors' stated purpose is "to arm the health care professional with a working knowledge of health law." This is a worthy objective in principle; however, it is a quite difficult objective to achieve, for without some general understanding of law and the operation of the legal system to provide context, isolated legal information can be as confusing as helpful. The authors overcome this difficulty only to a quite limited extent.
Audience: More to the point, however, is the question of how the reader is to use this book (i.e., read it cover to cover, consult it as a reference, etc.). The answer is not at all clear, which may simply be a result of the difficulty of the objective.
Features: This is not the type of book that requires, or has, illustrations. The references are not useful. The table of contents and the index are satisfactory, but the organization of the book itself is sometimes confusing (e.g., the leading refusal-of-treatment case is discussed under "defining death" rather than under "refusal of treatment"). The overall appearance of the book is satisfactory.
Assessment: This book would have been significantly improved if the authors had devoted more attention to (1) determining what their audience needed to understand and (2) how to provide that understanding. Instead, the book comes closer to being a simple cataloging (or, at best, a pedestrian review) of miscellaneous health law topics. It lacks the discrimination and guidance for the reader that could have made it more useful.