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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: David Thomasma, PhD (Loyola University Medical Center)
Description: This is a thoroughly revised new edition of a 1989 book, edited by one of the premier medical ethicists in the field.
Purpose: The original conception was that medical ethics had grown so significantly that a textbook should be produced modeled on those in medicine itself, with chapters contributed by leading authorities who would summarize issues and developments in their subspecialty. Major changes in the past five years in medical ethics, including rethinking the role of principles and new ethical issues, necessitated the revised edition.
Audience: The audience is primarily students of medical ethics, either health professionals or preprofessionals, although established professionals and ethicists will also find the book helpful. Each chapter begins with a summary of issues to be explored and concludes with questions and references for further study.
Features: This version retains the original contributors and adds two new ones for chapters on AIDS and on healthcare reform. The earlier chapters are devoted to professional codes of ethics, ethical theories, concepts of health and disease, and the doctor-patient relationship, and the later ones to specific ethical issues of reproduction, human experimentation, consent, genetics, organ transplantation, psychiatric issues, allocation of health care, death and dying, AIDS, and healthcare reform. Chapter authors are the leading authorities in these topics.
Assessment: In this excellent update of an important text, the topics reflect the public policy orientation of the editor. Missing are many clinical ethics issues. Nonetheless, I recommend this book as an essential way to learn about major areas in medical ethics.