Preface

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

-ix-

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Biomedical Ethics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Biomedical Ethics xi
  • Chapter 1 - History and Theories 1
  • Chapter 2 - The Patient-Doctor Relationship 23
  • Chapter 3 - Medical Research on Humans 47
  • Chapter 4 - Reproductive Rights and Technologies 71
  • Chapter 5 - Genetics 95
  • Chapter 6 - Medical Decisions at the End of Life 119
  • Chapter 7 - Allocating Scarce Medical Resources 143
  • Index 167
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