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In this new, startlingly original book, John D. Lantos weaves a compelling story that captures the dilemmas of modern medical practice. The Lazarus Case: Life-and-Death Issues in Neonatal Intensive Care begins with a fictional malpractice case—an amalgam of typical cases in which Lantos appeared as an expert witness—and uses it as the framework for addressing the ethical issues surrounding neonatal intensive care. Lantos draws on his experience in neonatal medicine, pediatrics, and medical ethics to explore ...
In this new, startlingly original book, John D. Lantos weaves a compelling story that captures the dilemmas of modern medical practice. The Lazarus Case: Life-and-Death Issues in Neonatal Intensive Care begins with a fictional malpractice case—an amalgam of typical cases in which Lantos appeared as an expert witness—and uses it as the framework for addressing the ethical issues surrounding neonatal intensive care. Lantos draws on his experience in neonatal medicine, pediatrics, and medical ethics to explore multiple ethical dilemmas through one poignant representative situation.
In Lantos's model case, a doctor decides to stop resuscitation of a premature infant, a tiny "preemie" who seems past reasonable care. The baby survives with severe neurological defects and the parents sue the doctor, alleging that stopping treatment was negligent. From this case, Lantos considers our moral obligations to critically ill babies, the meaning of negligence, and the sorts of social structures that shape the moral consciences of doctors.
Each chapter begins with Lantos deposing in the conference room of the plaintiffs' lawyers. The questions put to Lantos throughout the deposition spark an engrossing retelling of his personal experiences with premature babies, as well as his thoughtful discussions of ethics, morality, history, and medical statistics. Sprinkled throughout the book are references to fictional works by Camus, Dostoevsky, Shakespeare, Twain, and others. Lantos uses these literary examples to further illustrate the ambiguities, misunderstandings, responsibilities, and evasions that plague our decisions regarding life and death, medical care and medical education, and ultimately the cost and value of preserving the lives of the most vulnerable among us.
Lantos presents an eye-opening and thought-provoking discussion in a unique style... Lantos is honest and voices some of the questions that many, if not all, physicians and medical ethicists have probably thought about... A must-read for all physicians, [and] especially important for those interested in pediatrics, neonatology, geriatrics, or any aspect of medicine that involves life–vs.–death decisions.
This outstanding book is one of the most important on medical ethics in the past ten years... It is authored by a physician who views issues of the day firsthand in a thoughtful, realistic, and consistent style. The result is elegant and highly readable. Lantos examines ethical problems of neonatal intensive care through his depositional testimony regarding a child who unaccountably survived after treatment was stopped; the result was severe neurological deficit. This device allows Lantos to make cogent but never doctrinaire comments on our judicial system and the progress of technology at the expense of humanity... A must read for physicians, health authorities, and all who in desiring justice imbued with moral acceptance recognize that medical certitude is beyond our powers.
The Lazarus Case is recommended for anyone who is involved in patient care and clinical decision making, and will be an effective resource for teaching bioethics to undergraduate, nursing, and medical students.
— Felicia G. Cohn
Compelling. Lantos's narrative style makes for pleasurable reading; once you start a given chapter it is difficult to put his book down. He is at his best when sharing his personal experiences in the clinical realm and insights from relevant nonmedical literature. I am confident it will generate important discussions within our group that will benefit each of us and the infants and families we care for.
Lantos has taken an important practical problem and applied our understanding of moral and ethical theory to the issue of the appropriateness of care. An important message here is that in the context of this particular case, there are no right or wrong answers to questions posed.
A literate, thoughtful, and provocative work... An excellent way for experts and novices in bioethics, health professionals, and the lay public to be exposed to the complexities of ethical dilemmas in medicine.
The very readable text offers a compelling perspective, both personal and professional, on a tragic situation that illuminates how difficult it is to determine whether any treatment decision is right or wrong, despite the law's best efforts to render such verdicts.
This book is a good read for anyone working in modern health care and involved or interested in any way with the difficult and frustratingly ambiguous decisions that must be made daily while caring for the critically ill.
The Lazarus Case: Life and Death Issues in Neonatal Intensive Care
Chapter 1 Somebody Will Pay
Chapter 2 Passing Out In The NICU
Chapter 3 Learning about Death and Dying
Chapter 4 Standards of Care
Chapter 5 Prognostication and Futility
Chapter 6 Consent, Communication, Shared Decision Making
Chapter 7 Getting Paid
Chapter 8 Home Births
Chapter 9 Mistakes in Context
Chapter 10 Closing Argument