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Published: 19 September 2013

496 Pages


ISBN: 9780199774111

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Before Bioethics

A History of American Medical Ethics from the Colonial Period to the Bioethics Revolution

Robert Baker

  • First history of American medical ethics in over half a century
  • Explains the social empowerment of a hodgepodge of humanists and humanitarian physicians and researchers as "bioethicists."
  • Introduces concept of "morally disruptive technologies" and explains how they changed physicians' concept of their duties towards their patients and impacted our concepts of life, death and doctors' duties.
  • Charts the criminalization and decriminalization of abortion in America and explains the role of morally disruptive technologies.
  • Analyzes the role of medical ethics in the exclusion of African American and female physicians from the AMA and AMA's subsequent apology to African Americans.
  • Offers a voice to ordinary people impacted by medical ethics (or the lack thereof)
  • Documents and analyzes American physicians' abdication of their obligation to treat patients during epidemics.
  • Traces the origins of research ethics committees from 18th-century England, to the first known American committee initiated at the New England Hospital for Women in 1866.
  • First recognition of American midwives oaths as significant contributions to American medical ethics.
  • First comprehensive analysis of American physicians' oaths, tracing their origins to Edinburgh University and the Scottish Enlightenment.
  • First comprehensive analysis of American medical society codes from their origins to the present.
  • Based on extensive research on archives of American medical societies.
  • An on-line appendix to the book provides the texts of medical society codes of ethics of the AIH (homeopathic), AMA, Baltimore, Boston, New York City and New York State codes of medical ethics that defined 19th century medical ethics.

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