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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Diane M. Kondratowicz, PhD (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Description: This introduction to medical ethics, health law, and the humanities examines such key topics as ethical theories, moral principles, decision making, professionalism, competence, informed consent, and confidentiality.
Purpose: Providing a useful overview and survey of relevant perspectives, the book illustrates the distinctiveness as well as the important intersection of these disciplines.
Audience: An outgrowth of teaching initiatives at two institutions, the intended audience is students and practitioners in the health professions. Contributing chapter authors are representative of the featured disciplines and of noted scholarly expertise.
Features: Unique features of the book include its multidisciplinary approach to healthcare, chapter-specific learning objectives, summaries and review questions, discussion of important cases and developments in health law, particularly regarding patient protections, as well as clearly delineated clinical case studies, many of which include helpful ethical analysis and some of which are historically pivotal. One chapter rightly situates reemphasis on the humanities, including literature and the arts, in the historical context of relatively recent reforms of and developments in medical education in the United States. Additionally, several chapters examine health-related issues across the lifespan, from human reproduction to advanced years, including aspects of death and dying. Instructive materials worth review, including slides and a test bank, are accessible to instructors.
Assessment: Intended as an introductory work, this book is not exhaustive of medical ethics, health law, or related humanities studies. Nevertheless, recommendations for further study, particularly regarding ethical theories and decision-making approaches, would help guide interested readers. Different authors for chapters result in some inconsistencies in depth of coverage. This drawback notwithstanding, the book is well structured and clearly organized, and the chapters are well written with useful endnotes. Overall, given its unique multidisciplinary approach, the book significantly contributes to the introductory ethics book literature, serves as a useful reference, and is well suited to teaching students in all health professions disciplines.