Cases in Bioethics: From the Hastings Center Report

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Carol Levine, Robert M. Veatch
Hastings Center, 1982 - Hastings Center report - 112 pages
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Case studies of ethical issues based on real events are followed by comments illustrating how people from various ethical traditions and frameworks and from different academic and professional disciplines analyze the issues and work toward a resolution of the conflict posed. The cases are intended to help the public and professional persons pursue reflective, well-thought-out solutions to real human moral dilemmas, using a systematic ethical analysis. There are seven chapters. The case studies in chapter 1, on issues in reproduction, treat abortion, population programs, risk taking and birth defects, sterilization, and rape. Chapter 2, on patient-physician relationships, examines homosexuality, choosing a therapy when doctors disagree, and faith healing for childhood leukemia. Mental health and medical interventions are the topics of the third chapter. Euthanasia, nurturing a defective newborn, organ donation, and family wishes and patient autonomy are examples of topics treated in chapter 4 on death and dying. Chapters 5 and 6 examine human subjects research and the allocation of scarce (health) resources. The concluding chapter deals with public policy and includes cases on laetrile, baby making, anti-aging drugs, drinking on the job, and state legislation regarding child passenger protection. (RM)

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PatientPhysician Relationships
Mental Health and Medical Interventions
Commentaries by James M Gustafson and Francis C Pizzulli

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About the author (1982)

Robert Veatch is currently a professor of medical ethics at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and professor of philosophy at Georgetown University. For ten years previously, he was on the staff of the Hastings Center (formerly the Institute of Society, Ethics, and the Life Sciences). Veatch was born in Utica, New York, and received a B.S. degree from Purdue University (1961), an M.S. from the University of California at San Francisco (1962), and a B.D. (1964), M.A.(1970), and Ph.D. (1971) from Harvard University. A lecturer and writer, Veatch is the author of many important books on ethical issues in biology and medicine. Veatch's areas of interest center on the relation of science to public policy, death and dying, and experimentation on human subjects. He has worked both to assemble numerous case studies and to advance general theoretical reflection in these areas. In A Theory of Medical Ethics (1981), he argues that current medical codes such as the Hippocratic Oath are too restrictive and lack sufficient support for comprehensive use in the medical profession. The solution, he argues, is that medicine can no longer be based on a professionally articulated code. Instead, Veatch proposes a "covenant" theory of medical ethics that resembles the traditional social contract of philosophers such as John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

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