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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Nancy S. Jecker, PhD (University of Washington School of Medicine)
Description: The 16 chapters of this book are prepared by scholars from diverse disciplinary perspectives, including psychiatry, pediatrics, family medicine, nursing, philosophy, theology, social work, law, and business. The editors are Marjorie B. Zucker, a retired scientist affiliated with Choice in Dying and Howard Zucker, an Associate Clinical Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center. The book encompasses four main topics. First, it addresses the application of medical futility to diverse healthcare settings and patient populations. Second, it considers a range of cultural, religious, and psychological aspects of medical futility. Third, contributors explore the proper roles for ethics committees, courts, healthcare professionals, the community, and healthcare institutions in defining standards for medical futility. The final section of the book warns readers about potential abuses of medical futility.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide diverse perspectives on the definition and ethical implications of medical futility in a variety of clinical contexts, including acute care, general medicine, pediatric, and nursing home settings.
Audience: With its combination of theoretical and clinical topics, bioethicists and healthcare professionals will find this book useful. The book is accessible to students of medicine, law, nursing, and ethics and could serve as a supplementary text for bioethics courses.
Features: The book underscores the variety of clinical contexts to which medical futility is applied and stresses the importance of distinguishing between medical futility and decisions about health care rationing. It encourages building safeguards into decision-making processes to ensure careful and accurate futility assessments.
Assessment: This book provides a balanced, cross-disciplinary approach to the controversial topic of medical futility. It shows the importance of taking into account the influence of clinical context, cultural and religious perspectives, psychosocial dimensions, and economic factors.