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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Gina M Fullam, BS (Saint Louis University)
Description: This timely update to the 1999 edition of this classic book offers a selection of excerpted Roman Catholic teaching documents on medical ethics, organized by topic, as well as three introductory chapters that explicate foundational Catholic moral principles and the role of both the Church's teaching authority and Catholic individuals in the determination of right action.
Purpose: The authors recognized and have responded to the need for a single, comprehensive reference source for Church teaching on important medical ethics issues, as well as the need for contextualization of such teaching within the Church's rich moral tradition and view of the human person.
Audience: This book is intended as a resource not only for healthcare professionals, but also for the interested public. Well-respected scholars in the field of medical ethics, the authors write both informatively and accessibly in their introductory chapters for healthcare professionals and the interested public alike.
Features: The medical ethics topics presented in the book range from abortion, euthanasia, and organ donation, to the right to healthcare, to advance directives and joint ventures, the latter new to this edition. Though the introductory chapters refer to some of these topics, the second part of the book could benefit from additional commentary, perhaps in the form of notes to particular passages, to help readers in contextualizing the introductory discussion.
Assessment: This is an excellent resource for those with little to no knowledge of Catholic teaching on medical ethics, as well as for those familiar with Church teaching who wish to study the documents pertinent to specific issues. The authors have shown great care in updating both selections and topics for this edition, and in choosing document passages that articulate clearly the theological bases for each teaching.