Rather than challenging authority, she says, the bioethics movement was an aid to authority, in that it allowed medical doctors and researchers to proceed on course while bioethicists managed public fears about medicine's new technologies. That is, the public was reassured by bioethical oversight of biomedicine; in reality, however, bioethicists belonged to the same mainstream that produced the doctors and researchers whom the bioethicists were guiding.
After tracing the origins of the movement, Stevens turns to an analysis of the Hastings Center, the nation's first bioethics institute, where the independence of early bioethicists was compromised by the need to placate funding institutions intolerant of a critical portrayal of biomedicine. She then analyzes how bioethicists helped to establish the redefinition of death at a time when public fears were aroused that life support would routinely be prematurely discontinued in order to procure transplantable organs. In her final chapter, the author reexamines the Karen Quinlan case and its role in the rise of bioethics. In this case, public fears that doctors were using medical technology to artificially prolong life fueled a demand for bioethical opinion. But bioethical commentary ultimately failed to make known that the case had not increased a patient's right to die, but had merely freed physicians from the threat of criminal liability. Ironically, the Quinlan case was the unanticipated consequence of the new definition of death.
|Publisher:||Johns Hopkins University Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.70(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
M. L. Tina Stevens teaches in the history department at San Francisco State University.
Table of Contents
|Prologue: The Tradition of Ambivalence||1|
|Chapter 1||The Culture of Post-atomic Ambivalence||8|
|Chapter 2||"Leader of Leaders": The Hastings Center, 1969 to the Present||46|
|Chapter 3||Redefining Death in America, 1968||75|
|Chapter 4||"Sleeping Beauty": Karen Ann Quinlan and the Rise of Bioethics in America||109|
|Epilogue: Conclusion and Outlook||149|