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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Angela Schneider-O'Connell, PhD (Loyola University Medical Center)
Description: In this book, the author lays out the terrain of healthcare ethics. From a concise and thorough historical overview, the author proceeds via theoretical considerations to specific issues, such as organ donation, the terminally ill, and macroallocation to an approach to "solving" ethical problems using 18 well-chosen and well-described cases. The author's approach is distinguished by its nuanced attention to rarely mentioned problems, such as "Fallibility and the Problem of Blameworthiness in Medicine," and by its method of placing issues in correlation to one another: "The Ongoing Dialectic Between Autonomy and Responsibility in a Pluralistic World"; "Ethical Problems: Approaches and Alternatives"; "The AIDS Paradigm: Health Professionals and Mutual Risks."
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a text to be used in teaching healthcare ethics, its history, theory, major issues, and a method for solving problems to healthcare providers, students, and practitioners.
Audience: The intended audience, students wishing to become healthcare providers, will be well taught by this book and will enjoy some of its didactic features. The seasoned practitioner of healthcare ethics will find traditional problems presented in new and illuminating ways.
Features: Features that mark this book as a textbook are: (1) sections within each chapter are rather brief; (2) at times the salient points are marked by being indented and enumerated; (3) end notes follow each chapter section.
Assessment: The author approaches the traditional topic of bioethics/medical ethics/healthcare ethics with a method stressing the context in which the problems reside—the theoretical context, how they relate to one another and the existential context, the relation among their stakeholders. The highly nuanced and delicate analysis fits the matter at hand and benefits those studying it. The author's passion for the topic and the depth of his insight make this book more than a teaching tool.