- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Georgetown University Press; 5 edition (November 27, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1589011163
- ISBN-13: 978-1589011168
- Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.9 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,117,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Health Care Ethics: A Catholic Theological Analysis 5th Edition
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"While affirming Catholic Church teaching, [the editors] address controversies within the Catholic community and challenges from without . . . Provides a much-needed account of social responsibility and public policy as well as the sacramental and healing dimensions of true care."―America
"Clear, careful on reproductive and life issues and yet challenging, particularly in addressing matters of distributive justice and the social responsibility of health care systems and practitioners . . . the fifth edition offers an intriguing way of classifying ethical theories, a bit different from any traditional classification method I have seen to date."―Vision
"This [book] can become a great teaching moment for the Church's magisterium."―The Thomist
"The fifth edition of this classic work is equal in its quality, if not better, than earlier versions . . . While this work is intellectually solid, deeply grounded in scripture, theology, a humanistic natural law tradition, and various ethical approaches to bioethics, this book is remarkably 'user friendly.' I recommend this text for educated adults, undergraduates and graduate ministerial students."―Catholic Library World
"What was already a stellar theological compendium of health care ethics a decade ago has been fully revised to meet the challenges of a new century, from the genome project, adult and embryonic stem cell research and genetic therapies to new controversies over end-of-life care. Clearly rooted in the Catholic, natural law and personalist traditions, it astutely weighs diverse opinions within Catholicism, as well as alternative approaches from other Christian and non-religious thinkers . . . A treasure."―John F. Kavanaugh, SJ, Director of Ethics Across the Curriculum, Saint Louis University
"This is the most thorough revision to date of Ashley and O'Rourke's classic analysis of Catholic health care ethics. For Catholics 'doing' health care ethics or those wanting to understand Catholic thinking on foundational and controversial issues in health care it is an invaluable reference and should be in every library. Adding Jean deBlois as a third author brings a critical and new voice to this volume."―Carol R. Taylor, CSFN, RN, Center for Clinical Bioethics, Georgetown University
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The three principal divisions of the book may be described as treating of: ethical theory and its relationship to health care, clinical applications and social-pastoral approaches to health care and the sick.
In Part One, amidst a presentation of a variety of approaches to the foundations of ethics, the authors remain anchored in what they term as prudential personalism. With such a methodology, the good of the person is sought by the prudent application of moral principles. This is described not as a strictly deontological (duty-based) formula but more of a teleological (ends-means) system whereby choices are guided by that which will bring the moral agent to the achievement of the goal of personal existence. It is in this context that the inherent attractiveness of natural law theory is amplified since it corresponds to concepts which seek the fulfillment of the true good of our common human nature. Thus, the role of reason in ethical decision-making also finds a noble place along with a virtuous character in the moral armamentarium of the believer.
The Catholic moral system regarding these matters is described by demonstrating the role of the Magisterium as teacher (also for theologians). On page 25 the following statement is made: "In general it can be said that the moral teaching of the Church for the most part is infallible by reason of the fact that the universal ordinary teaching authority of the bishops has confirmed it as the teaching of the Church." A separate volume would be required to determine further the implications of such a statement. Double effect, cooperation, consent and confidentiality are highlighted as particularly relevant to health care decisions.
In Part Two, the authors succeed admirably in grouping numerous topics into four major categories: sexuality/reproduction, bodily reconstruction/modification, mental health and suffering/death. Valuable reasoning is provided in support of the personhood of the human embryo and the resultant respect it is to be accorded. The link between human sexuality and life issues is evidenced amply in the treatment of such matters as contraception, abortion and artificial generation of human life. Debated topics such as the management of ectopic pregnancies and the treatment of rape victims are discussed; the authors' conclusions are surely subject to further analysis.
With the ongoing development of medical and surgical techniques, interventions on the human body now have taken on a multiplicity of forms. Beginning at the genetic level and stem cells, the body is subject to manipulations such as cosmetic surgery, experimentation, enhancements and organ transplantation from living or dead persons. The authors deal with these topics in the context of therapeutic liceity while excluding attempts at the alteration of human nature itself.
As a result of many factors associated with modern living, more attention is directed these days to the preservation or restoration of mental health. The authors, while recognizing the value of many discoveries of mental therapy, maintain that this "level" of the human person must be considered in the overall context of Christian anthropology. Medical models and pharmacotherapy are evaluated alongside the various approaches in psychotherapy and the contribution of each toward developing the proper functioning of human freedom while respecting ethical boundaries is brought forth.
Our human condition brings along with it the reality of suffering and inescapable death. Both of these must be faced from a spiritual perspective but also require ethical guidance in patient management. It comes as no surprise that euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are seen as thoroughly illegitimate. Palliative care and hospice are appreciated as moral means of caring for those in the final period of their lives. The general question of which treatments are optional or obligatory is well presented with much attention given to the debate over the provision of artificial nutrition and hydration to those in the so-called persistent vegetative state (PVS). The position outlined by the authors (p. 197) led to a clarification by the National Catholic Bioethics Center of their own position (see [...] More recently, the prolonged debate over related matters also led to a statement from the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (see [...]
Part Three addresses topics of a different nature. Increasingly, basic health care is seen as an undeniable human right. Consequently, society must align policies in such a way as to include its provision in efforts to promote social justice. This field is an area of intense debate and scrutiny even in the wealthiest countries of the world. Many theories exist as to the most favorable means of implementing such policies and the authors add their recommendations while delineating also the obligations incumbent upon medical professionals and citizens to make their own contribution. In conclusion, the book pinpoints the spiritual/pastoral care of patients as the linchpin of a holistic ethical approach to health care.
Finally, it can be said safely that this is among the best books on Catholic Bioethics available in English. Faith and reason find a marvelous blend within its pages. Each chapter begins with an overview and ends with a conclusion. One could learn much just by reading those brief paragraphs. One could hope for a more careful proofreading if there is yet another revised edition.
I am sure that Georgetown University Press believed that the fourth edition was getting too long and too complicated, and hence believed that a shorter text would be more marketable. Although I still highly respect the authors of the fifth edition, I am unimpressed with the book and do not ever plan on using the fifth edition as a textbook in my classes again.