A Casebook of Medical Ethics

Oxford University Press (1989)
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Should a brain-dead woman be artificially maintained for the sake of her fetus? Does a physician have the right to administer a life-saving transfusion despite the patient's religious beliefs? Can a family request a hysterectomy for their retarded daughter? Physicians are facing moral dilemmas with increasing frequency. But how should these delicate questions be resolved and by whom? A Casebook of Medical Ethics offers a real-life view of the central issue involved in clinical medical ethics. Since the analysis of cases plays a critical role in this study, the authors have assembled a broad collection of histories encountered in their work as medical ethics educators and consultants. The cases are developed in substantial detail to reflect the rich medical and psychosocial complexity involved, and each is brought to a decision point at which a course of action must be chosen. Among the issues examined are conflicts between patients' wishes and respect for their well-being, tensions concerning duties to patients unable to care for themselves and obligations to family members, and clashes between patient care obligations and the interests of other persons, including physicians, third parties, and the general public. The book also includes commentaries that combine general discussion of ethical principles with specific analysis of the cases examined in the text, as well as various options for resolving conflicts. Readers are invited to assess the comparative merits and liabilities of these approaches. An ideal text for undergraduate and medical school courses, A Casebook of Medical Ethics brings readers to the forefront of medicine, where they share in the determination of crucial ethical decisions.



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