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Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Pinkertinkle, Mar 21, 2004.
Whats a good medical ethics book that premeds can comprehend?
maybe you can search online and find some undergrad level medical ethics courses at different colleges and find out what book they are using. i know that my school, univ of southnern cali (USC), has one...religion 460.
ill see if i can help some more.
Just off the top of my head, the most comprehensive is:
Bioethics, edited by Helga Kuhse and Peter Singer (or anything other anthology published by Blackwell). This is the more comprehensive, dense solution... you can chose and pick, and on each issue presented, there are papers on both sides. Topics include: abortion, genetics research, genetic screening, cloning, euthenasia, death, resource allocation, human experimentation, animal experimentation, confidentiality vs public duty, patient autonomy, etc. If there's one place to find good coverage on all the major topics, I think this is it.
In general, I think the embryonic physician should read up on at least a couple of the following:
-New Physician (AMSA journal) from last 10 years or so: Liberal leaning, but they have some good points. And a lot of the issues we worry about - 200k debt, stress, what field to go into, what happens if we don't get in this year, what are med schools looking for, etc - are talked about in there.
-Kant's Categorical Imperative: don't read his entire works, unless if you have a lot of time and brain cells to burn. Go Google for "Kant Categorical Imperative", and read some of the links to get an idea of what it entails, and why it is important for a physician.
-Hippocratic Oath: What can I say? It's a classic. Really try to interpret it to get the spirit of things. (i.e. keep in mind physicians weren't trained to do surgery back then...)
-Social Ethics, by Jenny Teichman: Good humanist approach on our relation to life, our obligations to each other, and obligations to patients.
-anything by Peter Singer: The anti-Teichman, rationalist approach. You're probably not gonna agree with the guy, but the great part of his writing is that the force at which you will disagree compells you to lay down a logical framework of your own. Either that or you will think the man is brilliant and stop using animal products. The man has a good grasp of ethics, even if he is an extremist.
In any case, to maximize the development of your ethical framework:
When you read an argument in a paper that you think is wrong, don't dismiss it. Think about it, and figure out why it's wrong. Then use this knowledge to construct your own moral system.
Of course, medical ethics is merely an extension of regular ethics, so here are some not medically specific, but still significant works in ethics (if you want some summer reading):
-In Defense of Anarchism, by Robert Paul Wolff: Ignore the stigma of the word "anarchy" and read it. The man has good points, ones which, distrubingly, I still can't refute 4 years later. It gets you on your way towards thinking about moral anarchy and autonomy, which is a very, VERY good thing.
-A Theory of Justice, by John Rawls: Goes into pretty deep detail about social justice and fairness. Somewhat important if you plan to be in a "healthcare as resource allocation" role later on.
also the show ER has a webpage with ethical situations from each episode. google for it. sorry, i lost the link somewhere along the interview path.
For my Bioethics course we used "Intervention and Reflection: Basic Issues in Medical Ethics Ed. 7" by Ronald Munson. I thought it was easy to understand, gave lots of viewpoints, covered most of the issues.
Pinkertinkle, I would recommend "To Relieve the Human Condition" by Gerald McKenny, "Suffering Presence" by Stanley Hauerwas, and "The Body of Compassion" by Joel James Shuman.
The most influential medical ethics text (other than the Roe decision) in the past thirty years is Beauchamp and Childress' Principles of Biomedical Ethics, currently in its fifth edition.
I personally have many issues with the book, but it is the most often quoted source in modern hospital ethics situations (autonomy-beneficence-nonmaleficence-justice, their four principles, are the dominant analytical categories for approaching cases). Singer is great for reading someone you have to hate, but this text is much better for the basic outline.