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Case Studies in Biomedical Ethics

Decision-Making, Principles, and Cases

Second Edition

Robert M. Veatch, Amy M. Haddad, and Dan C. English

Publication Date - October 2014

ISBN: 9780199946563

480 pages
6-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Featuring more than 100 case studies, this timely volume explores ethical questions arising from real-world situations faced by health professionals, patients, and others


The most comprehensive and up-to-date collection of its kind, Case Studies in Biomedical Ethics: Decision-Making, Principles, and Cases, Second Edition, explores fundamental ethical questions arising from real situations faced by health professionals, patients, and others.

Featuring a wide range of more than 100 case studies drawn from current events, court cases, and physicians' experiences, the book is divided into three parts. Part 1 presents a basic framework for ethical decision-making in healthcare, while Part 2 explains the relevant ethical principles: beneficence and nonmaleficence, justice, respect for autonomy, veracity, fidelity, and avoidance of killing. Parts 1 and 2 provide students with the background to analyze the ethical dilemmas presented in Part 3, which features cases on a broad spectrum of issues including abortion, mental health, experimentation on humans, the right to refuse treatment, and much more. The volume is enhanced by opening text boxes in each chapter that cross-reference relevant cases in other chapters, an appendix of important ethical codes, and a glossary of key terms.

New to this Edition

  • Many new and controversial cases, including The Hobby Lobby contraceptive insurance case and the Terri Schiavo case
  • "Questions for Thought and Discussion" now follow most cases
  • Updated references throughout

About the Author(s)

Robert M. Veatch, Ph.D., is Professor of Medical Ethics and a former director at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University.

Amy M. Haddad, Ph.D., is the Director of the Center for Health Policy & Ethics and the Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Endowed Chair in the Health Sciences at Creighton University.

Dan C. English, M.D., M.A., F.A.C.S., is Affiliated Scholar at the Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University.

Previous Publication Date(s)

February 2009


"I have found this to be an excellent textbook for my bioethics students. One of its major strengths is that it is so up to date. The authors obviously have a very strong grasp of current issues in health care today."--Robert Hurd, Xavier University

"Case Studies in Biomedical Ethics is extremely well written."--Robert V. Doyle, Loyola Marymount University

Table of Contents

    List of Cases
    New to this Edition
    *=New to this Edition
    Introduction: Four Questions of Ethics
    What Are the Source, Meaning, and Justification of Ethical Claims?
    Distinguish between Evaluative Statements and Statements Presenting Nonevaluative Facts
    Distinguish between Ethical and Nonethical Evaluations
    Determine Who Ought to Decide
    What Kinds of Acts Are Right?
    Deontological or "Duty-Based" Ethics
    Other Issues of Normative Ethics
    How Do Rules Apply to Specific Situations?
    What Ought to Be Done in Specific Cases?
    Chapter 1: A Model for Ethical Problem-Solving
    The Five-Step Model
    Application of the Model
    Chapter 2: Values in Health and Illness
    Identifying Value Judgments in Medicine
    Separating Ethical and Other Evaluations
    Chapter 3: What Is the Source of Moral Judgments?
    Grounding Ethics in the Professional Code
    Grounding Ethics in the Physician's Orders
    Grounding Ethics in Institutional Policy
    Grounding Ethics in the Patient's Values
    Grounding Ethics in Religious or Philosophical Perspectives
    Chapter 4: Benefiting the Patient and Others: The Duty to Do Good and Avoid Harm
    Benefiting the Patient
    Health in Conflict with Other Goods
    Relating Benefits and Harms
    Benefits of Rules and Benefits in Specific Cases
    Benefiting Society and Individuals Who Are Not Patients
    Benefits to Society
    Benefits to Specific Nonpatients
    Benefit to the Profession
    Benefit to the Health Professional and the Health Professional's Family
    Chapter 5: Justice: The Allocation of Health Resources
    Justice among Patients
    Justice between Patients and Others
    Justice in Public Policy
    Justice and Other Ethical Principles
    Chapter 6: Autonomy
    Determining Whether a Patient Is Autonomous
    External Constraints on Autonomy
    Overriding the Choices of Autonomous Persons
    Chapter 7: Veracity: Honesty with Patients
    The Condition of Doubt
    Lying in Order to Benefit
    Protecting the Patient by Lying
    Protecting the Welfare of Others
    Special Cases of Truth-Telling
    Patients Who Do Not Want to Be Told
    Family Members Who Insist the Patient Not Be Told
    The Right of Access to Medical Records
    Chapter 8: Fidelity: Promise-Keeping, Loyalty to Patients, and Impaired Professionals
    The Ethics of Promises: Explicit and Implicit
    Fidelity and Conflicts of Interest
    Incompetent and Dishonest Colleagues
    Chapter 9: Avoidance of Killing
    Active Killing versus Letting Die
    Withholding versus Withdrawing Treatment
    Direct versus Indirect Killing
    Justifiable Omissions: The Problem of Nutrition and Hydration
    Voluntary and Involuntary Killing
    Killing as Punishment
    Chapter 10: Abortion, Sterilization, and Contraception
    Abortion for Medical Problems of the Fetus
    Abortion Following Sexual Assault
    Abortion to Save the Life of the Pregnant Woman
    Abortion and the Mentally Incapacitated Woman
    Abortion for Socioeconomic Reasons
    Chapter 11: Genetics, Birth, and the Biological Revolution
    Genetic Counseling
    Genetic Screening
    In Vitro Fertilization and Surrogate Motherhood
    Preimplantation Diagnosis
    Gene Therapy
    Chapter 12: Mental Health and Behavior Control
    The Concept of Mental Health
    Mental Illness and Autonomous Behavior
    Mental Illness and Third-Party Interests
    Other Behavior-Controlling Therapies
    Chapter 13: Confidentiality: Ethical Disclosure of Medical Information
    Breaking Confidence to Benefit the Patient
    Breaking Confidence to Benefit Others
    Breaking Confidence as Required by Law
    Chapter 14: Organ Transplants
    Procuring Organs
    Donation versus Salvaging
    * The Grounds for Pronouncing Death
    Diseased and Poor-Quality Organs
    Preserving the Organs of the Dying
    Socially Directed Organ Donation
    Living Donor/Deceased Donor Organ Swaps
    Children and Incompetent Persons as Living Organ Sources
    * Transplanting Faces and Hands: Vascular Composite Allografts
    Allocating Organs
    Maximizing Benefits and Distributing Organs Fairly
    When Voluntary Risks Cause a Need for Organs
    * Age and the Allocation of Organs
    Multiple Organs and Special Priority for Special People
    Chapter 15: Health Insurance, Health System Planning, and Rationing
    The Problem of Small, Incremental Benefits
    Limits on Unproved Therapies
    Marginally Beneficial, Expensive Therapy
    Funding Care That Patients Have Refused
    Pharmaceutical Manufacturers versus Insurers
    Insurance and the Uninsured
    * The Affordable Care Act
    Chapter 16: Experimentation on Human Subjects
    Calculating Risks and Benefits
    Privacy and Confidentiality
    Equity in Research
    Conflicts of Interest in Research
    Informed Consent in Research
    Chapter 17: Consent and the Right to Refuse Treatment
    The Elements of a Consent
    The Standards for Consent
    Comprehension and Voluntariness
    Chapter 18: Death and Dying
    The Definition of Death
    Competent and Formerly Competent Patients
    Never-Competent Patients
    Never-Competent Persons without Available Family
    Never-Competent Persons with Available Family
    Futile Care and Limits Based on the Interests of Others
    Appendix: Codes of Ethics
    List of Cases from Public Sources

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