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Deciding for Others: The Ethics of Surrogate Decision Making (Studies in Philosophy and Health Policy) [Hardcover]

Allen E. Buchanan , Dan W. Brock
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 26, 1990 052132422X 978-0521324229
This book is the most comprehensive treatment available of one of the most urgent--and yet in some respects most neglected--problems in bioethics: decisionmaking for incompetents. Part I develops a general theory for making treatment and care decisions for patients who are not competent to decide for themselves. It provides an in-depth analysis of competence, articulates and defends a coherent set of principles to specify suitable surrogate decisionmakers and to guide their choices, examines the value of advance directives, and investigates the role that considerations of cost ought to play in decisions concerning incompetents. Part II applies this theoretical framework to the distinctive problems of three important classes of individuals, many of whom are incompetent: minors, the elderly, and psychiatric patients. The authors' approach combines a probing analysis of fundamental issues in ethical theory with a sensitive awareness of the concrete realities of health care institutions and the highly personal and individual character of difficult practical problems. Its broad scope will appeal to health professionals, moral philosophers and lawyers alike.

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In this book, the authors, both professors of philosophy and members of the President's Commission on Medical Ethics, set out a theoretical framework for deciding who is competent to make his own life-or-death decision and who should decide for the incompetent. They advocate "pa tient-centered principles," not paternalism, and would rely on the family, not doctors or courts, for surrogate decisions. The best solution is to have an "advance directive" which specifies the surrogate decision maker and what should not be done to keep one alive. Instead of the "basic interest" found in estate law, the authors substitute "best interest." In the book's second section, they apply the "best interest" principle to cases involving minors, newborns, the elderly, and the mentally ill. For subject collections.
- Janice Dunham, John Jay Coll. Lib., N.Y.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

"Few problems in medicine so puzzle and pain families, healthcare workers, and officials as much as those about making decisions for incompetent people. Allen Buchanan and Dan Brock have made a signal, and major, contribution to the analysis of such issues. They have, first of all, contributed an elegant and thoughtful theory, and then they have moved, second, from the theoretical to the practical realm, trying to spell out how in practice the incompetent might best be respected and treated. This book will have a central and enduring place in future discussion, pertinent not only to those interested in the theoretical questions, but to those charged with actually caring for, and deciding for, the incompetent. It will help illuminate a problem that seems both intractable and painful. That is a giant contribution." Daniel Buchanan, Director of the Hastings Center

"Buchanan and Brock's treatment of surrogate decision making is an outstanding example of the type of scholarship which the field [of bioethics] needs. The combination of its intellectual virtues with its comprehensiveness of treatment will make this book the standard work on this important topic for years to come." Baruch A. Brody, Baylor College of Medicine

"Buchanan and Brock's special contribution is to bring systematic moral reasoning and consideration of social and institutional practices to bear on a spectrum of questions related to incompetence. The result is a subtle, selective, and philosophically sophisticated work." Hastings Center Report

"Deciding for Others addresses an important issue with wide-ranging implications for health care and will undoubtedly become a work of major significance." Dermot K. Feenan, Journal of Health, Politics, Policy and Law

"This excellent and challenging book discusses virtually the whole range of ethical questions that arise when medical decisions must be made by someone other than the patient....Buchanan and Brock's invigorating treatment will remain a key point of departure for anyone who wants to better understand the ethics of treatment refusal." Medical Humanities Review

"From such a pair one would expect a landmark, and one is not disappointed." Jonathan D. Moreno, Ethics

"Deciding for Others has much to teach the general reader who may have read press coverage of major court descisions such as Cruzan. It also makes an enormous contribution to current scholarly debates regarding surrogate decision making in medicine, law, and ethics. Brock and Buchanan move present debates forward by leaps and bounds." Uriel Barzal

Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Philosophy and Health Policy
  • Hardcover: 444 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (January 26, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052132422X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521324229
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 5.7 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,384,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars PROXY DECISION-MAKING August 11, 2010
Format:Paperback
Allen E. Buchanan & Dan W. Brock
Deciding for Others: The Ethics of Surrogate Decision Making

(Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1989) 422 pages

This is perhaps the best and most comprehensive book on medical
decision-making for pre-persons, full persons, & former persons,
who might not be capable of deciding for themselves.
It is especially relevant for the proxy provisions of any Advance Directive.

The major themes:

(1) determining competence;

(2) patient-centered principles for deciding;

(3) Advance Directives and continuity of personhood;

(4) considering the impact on society;

(5) deciding for infants and minors;

(6) deciding for the elderly;

(7) proxies for people with behavioral problems.

This book is recommended for everyone making decisions for others.

If you would like to read my reviews of other books on Advance Directives,
search the Internet for this exact phrase:
"Books on Advance Directives for Medical Care".

James Leonard Park, medical ethicist
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pleased with order December 7, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am very happy with the quality of your product. Amazon is my primary shopping site. I am impressed with the ease in ordering, the updated information, the follow-up, the tracking, and the timely manner my order was received.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressed August 22, 2007
Format:Paperback
Buchanan write a very thought provoking book. Deciding for others is an important part of making policy, and indeed should be considered by anyone who cares for those who cannot care for themselves or make their needs/desires known.
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