Matters of Life and Death: Making Moral Theory Work in Medical Ethics and the Law

Matters of Life and Death: Making Moral Theory Work in Medical Ethics and the Law

by David Orentlicher

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691089478
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 12/02/2001
Pages: 248
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author


David Orentlicher, MD, JD, is Samuel R. Rosen Professor of Law and Codirector of the Center for Law and Health at Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis. He is a member of the adjunct faculty at Indiana University School of Medicine, a coauthor of Health Care Law and Ethics, and coeditor of Health Care Crisis? The Search for Answers.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsix
1Introduction1
Part 1The Approach of Using Generally Valid Rules
2The Importance of Generally Valid Rules in Implementing Moral Principle11
3The Absence of a Moral Distinction between Treatment Withdrawal and Assisted Suicide24
4The Distinction between Treatment Withdrawal and Assisted Suicide as a Generally Valid Way to Distinguish between Morally Justified and Morally Unjustified Deaths53
Part 2Avoiding Perverse Incentives
5The Implications for Practice of a Policy's Perverse Incentives83
6Underlying Moral Principle Permits a Limited Legal Obligation for Pregnant Women to Accept Life-Saving Treatment for Their Fetuses91
7The Problems with a Legal Duty for Pregnant Women Because of Perverse Incentives113
Part 3The "Tragic Choices" Model
8Avoiding Explicit Trade-offs through Implicit Choices123
9Limitations of the "Futility" Concept in Medical Treatment Decisions132
10Futility as a Way to Make "Tragic Choices"153
Conclusion167
Notes171
Index225

What People are Saying About This

Robert Veatch

Written by a well-known and respected author, this book reflects careful scholarship by someone who has extensive experience in the field and creative insights. Its significant new perspective is Orentlicher's claim that there is no clear answer to many of the most important questions in bioethics because of indeterminacy in bioethical theory. The result is a nuanced pragmatic analysis that shows the flaw of many attempts—both liberal and conservative—to translate theory to policy.
Robert Veatch, The Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University

Bruce Jennings

This book represents a solid contribution to the field of bioethics by a distinguished lawyer, physician, and ethicist. It engages topics of salient concern with a consistently cogent and controversial perspective. It is clearly written and should be of interest not only to lawyers, but to everyone in the field of bioethics, and indeed to the general reader, as well.
Bruce Jennings, The Hastings Center

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