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Diagnosis Critical: The Urgent Threats Confronting Catholic Healthcare Hardcover – June 2, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


Whether you agree or disagree with how the Catholic hospitals are responding to today s moral demands, Professor Nelson's analysis brings much-needed light to the debate. Readers of all persuasions will find valuable truths. --Lois Shepherd, J.D., Professor of Law, Associate Professor of Biomedical Ethics, University of Virginia

A compelling account of the moral and spiritual challenges facing Roman Catholic health care...this important book is a must-read for Christians and non-Christians alike. --H. Tristram Engelhart, Jr., Ph.D., M.D., Professor, Department of Philosophy, Rice University; Professor Emeritus, Baylor College of Medicine

About the Author

Leonard J. Nelson, III, is a professor at the Cumberland School of Law of Samford University and an affiliated scholar with the Lister Hill Center for Health Policy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. As a specialist in health care law, Professor Nelson has an interest in the challenges that Catholic health care organizations face as they strive to remain faithful to their Catholic mission. He has written articles about health care ethics and law, managed care regulation, and other relevant topics for peer-reviewed journals, law reviews, magazines, and newspapers

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor (June 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592760708
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592760701
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,879,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joseph P. Tevington on October 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
An expert on health care law, Professor Leonard J. Nelson, III, provides an eye opening, disturbing account in "Diagnosis Critical: The Urgent Threats Confronting Catholic Healthcare." This work is divided into six parts (i.e., "Moral Foundations," "Catholic Identity," "The Struggle to Maintain Catholic Identity as Reflected in Two Health Care Systems," "Catholic Health Care and the Right of Conscientious Objection," "End-of-Life Care," "Social Justice and Health Care Reform") & a Conclusion. Professor Nelson's 229 pages of eye-opening text are readable and enthralling (He also provides 113 pages of end notes.). In his introduction, he warns that "Catholics may have to focus their future efforts on the creation of alternatives to acute care hospitals such as free clinics, specialized centers for reproductive medicine, and hospices for end-of-life care that could reinvigorate health care ministry" (p. 19).

MORAL FOUNDATIONS: Within chapters on "The Catholic Natural Law Tradition," "Challenges to the Catholic Natural Law Tradition," "The Reassertion of Absolute Norms" and "Secular Bioethics versus Catholic Bioethics," Professor Nelson undertakes an ambitious history and survey of contemporary Natural Law adherents, dissenters, and acknowledged opponents. At times, he may inadvertently lend a veneer of legitimacy to dissenters, by using the term "revisionist." A more direct challenge to those who engage in sophistry to mislead Catholics into thinking that some teachings of the Magisterium are not binding (cf., # 2034 & #832 of the
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Miller VINE VOICE on July 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
When I first saw mention of "Diagnosis Critical: The Urgent Threats Confronting Catholic Health care by Leonard J. Nelson III on Amy Welborn's blog I knew this was a book I wanted to read. The issue of Catholic Health Care has certainly emerged on this blog as I have covered stories regarding this important subject. There are plenty of comparison between Catholic health care and the Catholic education system with the decline of so-called Catholic identity. But as this author points out in his conclusion the Catholic health care system has faired better in this regard for the most part. Not that there are not major ethical problems which are certainly pointed out.

The title of the book certainly gives it an urgency about the seriousness of some of the real problems. Though this is not a book containing chapter after chapter of horror stories of bad things going on in Catholic health care. The author who is a professor in a school of law and an expert surrounding healthcare law goes way beyond just detailing problems.

In fact the book take as systematic approach and starts with moral theology and especially the Catholic natural law tradition. He gives a good overview of this in regards to health care along with a history of the applicable theology. As you would expect there is coverage of the theologians who have departed from traditional moral theology into relativism, proportionalism, and consequentialism which has caused damage to the culture of life in this area.

In the area of bio-ethics they have tried to create a system apart from natural law that develops a consensus in the secular world. There is of course no such consensus and this area of ethics has turned more and more into defending the indefensible.
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