Medical Law: A Very Short Introduction

Front Cover
OUP Oxford, Feb 28, 2013 - Law - 141 pages
Medical law touches on many of society's most hotly debated issues, from the status of the embryo to the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, and from assisted suicide to research on humans, organ transplantation, and the ownership of body parts. The media shines a glaring light on these and many other contentious medical questions, but as legal authority Charles Foster points out, camera flashes don't shed real light. To truly grasp these issues, Foster argues, you have to dive deep into the particular cases, and further, to the principles behind the cases. In this highly readable and entertaining book, Foster illuminates those principles, illustrating them with examples from many fascinating and notorious cases. He sheds light on such controversial and significant topics as clinical negligence, patient confidentiality, euthanasia, informed consent, abortion, in vitro fertilization, and much more. Whatever your interest in medical law--as a healthcare professional, policy-maker, law student, or just the concerned owner of a body--this Very Short Introduction it is essential reading.

About the Series:

Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.

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User Review  - elkiedee - LibraryThing

I first learned about the Very Short Introduction series a few months ago through a piece of freelance work. They are small, attractive volumes of between 100 and 150 pages, aiming to offer "a ... Read full review


1 Origins and legacies
2 The enforcement of medical law
3 Before birth
4 Confidentiality and privacy
5 Consent
6 Clinical negligence
7 Research on human subjects
8 Resource allocation
9 The end of life
10 Organ donation and the ownership of body parts
11 The future of medical law
Cases discussed
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About the author (2013)

Charles Foster is a Fellow of Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, a tutor in medical law and ethics at the University of Oxford, and a barrister (practising in medical law) at Outer Temple Chambers, London. He read law and veterinary medicine at the University of Cambridge. He is the author, editor or contributor to over thirty five books. His website is at

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