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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Nadine Coudret, MSN, EdE (University of Southern Indiana)
Description: This is a provocative, comprehensive reference and companion to Doyle's Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine (Oxford University Press, Inc., 1995). The first section presents the authors' philosophy of palliative care followed by a discussion of clinical issues. Case studies are included. The authors' response to critics of the first edition and a discussion of the quality and value of life conclude the book. The textbook discussions include references to current British law and practices.
Purpose: This book provides an authoritative useful reference source for healthcare professionals and others involved in palliative care clinical decision making. It serves a similar purpose for other individuals personally or professionally interested in the ethics of palliative care.
Audience: The intended audience includes physicians, nurses, social workers, and other healthcare providers. Policy makers and others involved in making and interpreting public policy will also find this book useful. In addition, students majoring in ethics and philosophy may find this a useful reference.
Features: At the beginning of each chapter there is a relevant, thought-provoking quotation. The conclusions that accompany each chapter provide a concise summary of major chapter points. There is an absence of illustrations, figures, and tables, but an index is included.
Assessment: A number of books focus on medical ethics and most of these books include content related to end-of-life issues. There are also a number of books related to palliative care and hospice that include one or two chapters on ethics. I did not identify any book that directly paralleled this one. The added features of this second edition support the addition of this book to the libraries of individual practitioners, educators, and policy makers.