HEALTH AND HUMAN VALUES: Making Your Own Decisions by Frank; John Burnside & Tom Beauchamp Harron

HEALTH AND HUMAN VALUES: Making Your Own Decisions

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How to begin thinking about moral dilemmas in health care--via a methodical, textbook approach that attempts to turn unconscious opinion-forming into a logical, deliberate process. The authors, all based in medicine and/or ethics, argue (as do many others) that choosing among medical alternatives should not, oftentimes, be exclusively a medical decision. Their aim is to equip readers to make vital choices both in pressing situations and in their own thinking. For each of six currently hot issues (abortion and prenatal procedures, euthanasia, the definition of death, informed consent, the ""right to health,"" whom to treat, ""applied genetics""), the same basic formula is followed: a case study illustrates the dilemma; a general discussion points out the key medical, moral, legal, and public-policy factors involved; readings in medicine, law, philosophy, and theology (James Childress, Robert Veatch, Sisela Bok) provide amplification; an annotated bibliography lists scholarly and literary treatments. The introductory chapter on the basics of moral reasoning has some important, preparatory features: how to discriminate between deontological (from the Greek ""deon,"" or duty) and utilitarian thinking in identifying one's primary orientation; the differences between moral and legal fights; the role of public policy in converting moral to legal rights. The cases are truly daunting; and never are we told what to think. A clear, thoughtful, welcome lesson in sorting out thorny emotional issues for oneself--of manifest use at many school levels.

Pub Date: March 16th, 1983
Publisher: Yale Univ. Press