Health and Human Values


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A Guide to Making your own Decisions

Frank M. Harron

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Although modern developments in medical science have produced some dramatic benefits, they have also raised difficult and sometimes controversial moral and legal questions. How much information should a physician give to a patient? If preserving life means increasing suffering, should every means be exercised to prolong life? Should we screen the population and reduce the reproductive freedom of individuals with genetic diseases? In an era of staggering increases in health care costs, should the new medical benefits go to those who can afford them or should the government devise systems that distribute risks and benefits more equally?
Frank Harron, John Burnside, and Tom Beauchamp examine these and many other questions confronted today by health care professionals, patients and their families, policy makers, and all informed, responsible citizens. They explore such provocative problems as euthanasia, abortion, in vitro fertilization, health care and distributive justice, truth-telling and informed consent, determination of death, and genetic engineering. Their approach reaches behind the headlines and beyond the controversy to enable the reader to make his or her own informed decisions.
Each chapter contains actual case studies followed by questions that highlight the dilemmas embedded in the case. The main portion of the chapter provides background examination of key medical, philosophical, legal, and public policy factors. Excerpts from leading writers in medicine, law, theology, and philosophy and an annotated bibliography of other printed and audio/visual resources are provided for every topic.
The capabilities that medical science has provided have come upon us before we are ready with a working consensus. Each person must find his or her own bearings in this era of rapid transition in values and then contribute to society’s struggle to make fair and enlightened laws and policies. This book assists the reader to cope and to participate in the crucial, even vital, decisions we all face.

"A clear, thoughtful, welcome lesson in sorting out thorny emotional issues for oneself."—Kirkus Reviews

"Discussion and thuoght questions, excerpts from leading writers in philosophy, theology, medicine and law, as well as an annotated bibliography made this an excellent book for people seriously involved in bioethical concerns."—Jack Dick, National Catholic Reporter

"This book is intended to help the reader see more clearly some central issues in biomedical ethics. The major topics include the nature of moral decision-making, the value and rights of human life (abortion, prenatal procedures), euthanasia, death and personhood, informed consent, health care, 'genetic engineering.' . . . . The presentation is lucid and engrossing. For public library and undergraduate collections."—Library Journal

"In a clear and straightforward way, but without oversimplification, Health and Human Values: Making Your Own Decisions introduces a wide range of issues in biomedical ethics. It can be used successfully as a text in many different contexts. Its combination of extensive discussions by the authors—often in relation to cases—with materials from other sources is particularly valuable because it provides both focus and variety."—James F. Childress, Professor of Religious Studies and Professor of Medical Education, University of Virginia

"Must be regarded as the model handbook of medical ethics. . . . What makes this book different from most of its peers is that each chapter concludes with selected readings, representing various religious and philosophical perspectives on possible resolution of the ethical dilmma, and includes an annotated biblioraphy of recommended further reading and audiovisual materials. Clearly the authors took great care in designing a book that would not only engage the interest of their readership but would also provide a helpful tool for them. . . . I am impressed by the insightfulness contained therein."—Mary-Carroll Sullivan, Journal of the American Medical Association

"The best of its kind that I have seen."—T. Forcht Dagi, M.D., New England Journal of Medicine

"The text is clearly written, the cases used are excellent, and the annotated bibliography is first rate. . . . These splendid books are filled with useful information on biomedical ethics and should be in all good health sciences libraries and public libraries. They are excellent resources for both laymen and health professionals concerned with biomedical ethics, especially those who are responsible for producing programs on ethic issues in medicine."—Nicholas E. Davies, M.D., Annals of Internal Medicine

"Deserves special commendation for its excellent selection of material and for its enlightening, thought-provoking discussion. Important issues are thoroughly analyzed, major positions represented, and significant case examples offered, each in a useful, chronological context."—Judith W. Ross, Health and Social Work
ISBN: 9780300030266
Publication Date: September 10, 1983
216 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Biomedical-Ethical Issues

A Digest of Law and Policy Development

Frank Harron

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