Case Studies in Biomedical Ethics: Decision-Making, Principles and Cases

By Swanson, Thor | Ethics & Medicine, Fall 2012 | Go to article overview

Case Studies in Biomedical Ethics: Decision-Making, Principles and Cases


Swanson, Thor, Ethics & Medicine


Case Studies In Biomedical Ethics: Decision-Making, Principles and Cases Robert M. Veatch, PhD, Amy M. Haddad, PhD, RN, Dan C. English, MD. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. ISBN 0195309723; 480 PAGES, PAPER, $59.95.

Are you looking for a time-tested resource to lead discussions of biomedical ethics with groups of religious lay people, hospital employees, or medical residents? The recently republished Case Studies in Biomedical Ethics fills the bill.

This book's foundational material, including some of its cases, dates all the way back to 1977 when the first version of the work was published. Obviously, much has happened since, including Louise Brown, the first in-vitro baby (1978), Karen Quinlan (1 985), Nancy Cruzan (1 990), and more. More recent editions have appropriately embraced recent advances and added seminal changes, seeking to keep readers up to date in the ever-changing field of bioemics. The incorporation of the case of Terry Schiavo from 2005 in this edition as Case 9-5 provides proof that the current publication continues the past commitment to staying current.

Robert Veatch, a well-known philosophical bioethicist from Georgetown, is the lead author of the current edition. His continued participation represents the on-going commitment on the part of the book's publishers to the work's successful past. However, a nurse bioethicist from Creighton, Amy Haddad, and physician bioethicist Dan English from Georgetown have now been added as co-authors, broadening the authorial perspective and commentary on many of the cases.

The work consists of three main parts. Part one is entitled "Ethical Principles in Medical Ethics" and presents a background for making ethical decisions. In these three chapters, the authors introduce their own models for ethical problem solving in specific cases (chapter 1), the values that drive health decisions (chapter 2), and the potential sources of moral judgments (chapter 3).

In part two, the writers choose six foundational principles that routinely relate to, and sometimes conflict in, medical cases.

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