CONTEMPORARY MEDICAL ETHICS by John F. Dedek

CONTEMPORARY MEDICAL ETHICS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Father Dedek outlines simply but with considerable background (from papal, theological and other opinions) what the moral questions are beyond the canons of good surgery--or in fewer words medical practices vs. the edicts of the Catholic Church. Caution prevails (even where awkwardly expressed in such lines as ""we do not want to set outselves on the slippery slope to Dachau"") and he's open-minded to the point of recognizing the ""new consensus"" of Catholic moralists, particularly on the question of contraception. When it comes to abortion he mildly suggests that those of the faith avoid participating in the procedure (doctors or nurses too). After an initial muzzy statement on the ""principle of totality"" or the person's ""stewardship"" over his own body, he discusses the new issues the new medicine has raised: when is surgery optional or morally required (in terms of cost, pain, risk, limited success); letting babies die (here he says that the medical profession is sharply divided even though we know from other recent works that they prefer--some 75 to 80% of them--to take ""passive"" or ""involuntary"" non-measures); homosexuality (not ""rotten"" even if it devalues the meaning of human sexuality); artificial insemination, cloning and finally euthanasia where he acknowledges ""there is a human right to die."" A guarded work and surely certain words like ""maiden"" (for young woman) are not in synch with the times he's addressing. Primarily for doctors, according to the introduction, although we would also suggest an audience of Catholic theologians.

Pub Date: July 22nd, 1975
Publisher: Sheed & Ward