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The Limits of Principle: Deciding Who Lives and What Dies (University of Utah Anthropological) Hardcover – December 30, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0275964078 ISBN-10: 0275964078 Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Series: University of Utah Anthropological
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger (December 30, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0275964078
  • ISBN-13: 978-0275964078
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,115,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"I am convinced that Koch's MCDM approach has proven itself to be an invaluable bioethical tool, bridging principle and practice to articulate a hierarchy of biopsychosocial criteria for the selection of candidates for any potentially lifesaving procedure where demand exceeds supply. This book is a 'must read' for anyone involved in tertiary medical practice!"-Kathryn L. Braun, DrPH Associate Professor and Director, Center on Aging School of Public Health, University of Hawaii

Book Description

Provides a critique and a new approach to bioethics.

More About the Author

Tom Koch is among the best known, most prolific writers you've probably never heard about. An ethicist, writer, and researcher specializing in the care of the fragile, he holds a multi-disciplinary PhD (medicine, ethics/philosophy, geography) from the University of British Columbia. His more than 15 books and 300 articles include the first books on elder care from the perspective of the caregiver. Beginning with Mirrored Lives (1990), he pioneered the use of narrative writing in gerontology. He was also the first to write extensively on the use of electronic data and public information. That series began with The News as Myth (1990), followed by Journalism in the 20th Century (1992) and The Message is the Medium (1996). In medicine and medical cartography he is an authority on the history of maps in medicine and community health (Cartographies of Disease, 2005; Disease Maps: Epidemics on the Ground(2010)). As a medical ethicist he is the author of both The Limits of Principle (2005) and Thieves of Virtue: When Bioethics Stole Medicine (Sept. 2012).
In Toronto he serves as a medical ethicist and consultant specializing in issues of chronic care as well as the study of the environmental and social determinants of endemic and epidemic disease.
A fourth level black belt in Aikido, and a long-time student of karate, when not writing he also practices Tai Ch'i and the flute.
For a complete list of books and papers see his website:

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a superb book for nurses, doctors, social workers and family members wrestling with difficult medical ethical questions. Who should go first in the lineup to receive a heart transplant: a young child or a father of three? Should a person with Down's Syndrome be equal to others? How about a convicted criminal? Or someone age 75? Tom Koch explores these difficult questions and then offers a framework for health care workers and others to help work through their own answers. He examines what it means to be human and the sanctity of human life -- and how a better historical understanding of these concepts and a reasoned methodology can help guide us as we make difficult life and death choices today. Koch does an excellent job of weaving the practical and human with the technical and philosophical. This is a must for those who are forced to make the choice of who lives, and who dies.
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