Biomedical Ethics

Biomedical Ethics

Biomedical Ethics

Biomedical Ethics

Synopsis

Biomedical Ethics is a brief philosophical introduction to the most important ethical questions and arguments in six areas of biomedicine: the patient-doctor relationship; medical research on humans; reproductive rights and technologies; genetics; medical decisions at the end of life; and the allocation of scarce medical resources. Topics cover both perennial ethical issues in medicine, such as doctors' duties to patients, and recent and emerging ethical issues in scientific innovation, such as gene therapy and cloningIdeal for courses in contemporary moral problems, introduction to ethics, and introduction to bioethicsContents:Chapter1: History and TheoriesIntroductionThe Need for TheoriesConsequentialism and DeontologyVirtue Ethics and Feminist EthicsCommunitarianism and LiberalismThe Rejection of Theories: Casuistry and Cultural RelativismConclusionFurther ReadingChapter 2: The Patient-Doctor RelationshipIntroductionInformed ConsentTherapeutic PrivilegeConfidentialityCross-Cultural RelationsWhat Sort of Doctors Do We Need?ConclusionChapter 3: Medical Research on HumansIntroductionDesign of Clinical TrialsEquipoise, Randomisation, and PlacebosProblems with ConsentVulnerable PopulationsProtections and JusticeConclusionFurther ReadingChapter 4: Reproductive Rights and TechnologiesIntroductionAbortionThe Moral Status of EmbryosSurrogate PregnancySex CloningConclusionFurther ReadingChapter 5: GeneticsIntroductionGenetic Testing and ScreeningPreimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PIGD)Gene TherapyGenetic EnhancementEugenicsConclusionFurther ReadingChapter 6: Medical Decisions at the End of LifeIntroductionDefining DeathWithholding and Withdrawing TreatmentDouble EffectEuthanasia and Physician-Assisted SuicideFutilityConclusionFurther ReadingChapter 7: Allocating Scarce Medical ResourcesIntroductionSetting PrioritiesQALYsAge-Based RationingOrgan TransplantationTwo-Tiered Health CareConclusionFurther Reading

Excerpt

These are exciting times in medicine and biotechnology. Advances in these fields are occurring at a rapid pace and are having a profound influence on our lives. Mechanical ventilation can keep humans alive indefinitely in the absence of most brain functions. The participation of human subjects in medical research may lead to drugs that can control or cure the most debilitating and deadly diseases. Computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography (PET) scans of the body and brain can reveal disorders before symptoms appear. Genetic testing of embryos can predict whether persons will have diseases earlier or later in life. Genes can be inserted into the body and brain to correct disorders and possibly improve physical and mental capacities. It may even become possible to clone human beings. But these and other developments raise important and controversial ethical questions.

The aim of this book is to engage readers in critically reflecting on and analyzing these questions. It is a philosophical introduction to the most important ethical positions and arguments in six areas of biomedicine: the patient-doctor relationship; medical research on humans; reproductive rights and technologies; genetics; medical decisions at the end of life; and allocation of scarce medical resources. The topics cover both perennial ethical issues in medicine, such as doctors'; duties to patients, and recent and emerging ethical issues in scientific innovation, such as gene therapy and cloning. The scope of the book captures the historical, contemporary, and future-oriented flavor of these areas in a concise and ac-

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