Editors: Peter A. Singer and A.M. Viens
Publisher:  Cambridge University Press – 538 pages
Book Review by: Sonu Chandiram

What is ethical or not, in healthcare and in medical practice, is sometimes not as clear cut as we wish it to be. Nevertheless, it is important, even crucial, for doctors to get a definite answer, so that the correct decision is arrived at before taking an action, or not.

There are usually many aspects of a problem or issue to be looked at, so this book is a crucial one to have when confronted by a dilemma, and the right decision has to be made, or else. Or else you may face a trial in court, loss of much money, days in jail, or even loss of your medical license.

This is an extensive volume, as you can see by the many topics below covered within the 538 pages of this important book.

  1. Introduction
  2. Section I – Information Problems
    1. Introduction
    2. Consent
    3. Capacity
    4. Disclosure
    5. Voluntariness
    6. Truth telling
    7. Confidentiality
  3. Section II – End-of-Life Care
    1. Introduction
    2. Quality End-of-Life Care
    3. Substitute Decision Making
    4. Advance Care Planning
    5. Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide
    6. Conflict in the Healthcare Setting
    7. Brain Death
  4. Section III – Pregnant Women and Children
    1. Introduction
    2. Ethical Dilemmas in the Care of Pregnant Women: Rethinking ‘Maternal-Fetal Conflicts’
    3. Prenatal Testing and Newborn Screening
    4. Assisted Reproduction
    5. Respectful Involvement of Children in Medical Decision-Making
    6. Non-therapeutic Pediatric Interventions
    7. Child Abuse and Neglect
  5. Section IV – Genetics and Biotechnology
    1. Introduction
    2. Organ Transplantation
    3. Regenerative Medicine
    4. Genetic Testing and Screening
    5. Bio-banking
    6. Behavioral Genetics
  6. Section V – Research Ethics
    1. Introduction
    2. Research Ethics
    3. Innovation in Medical Care: Examples from Surgery
    4. Clinical Care
    5. Epidemiological Research
    6. Clinical Research and the Physician-Patient Relationship
    7. Financial Conflict of Interest in Medical Research
    8. Embryo and Fetal Research
  7. Section VI – Health Systems and Institutions
    1. Introduction
    2. Organizational Ethics
    3. Priority Setting
    4. Disclosure of Medical Error
    5. Conflict of Interest in Education
    6. Public Health Ethics
    7. Emergency and Disaster Scenarios
    8. Rural Healthcare Ethics
    9. Community Healthcare Ethics
  8. Section VII – Using Clinical Ethics to Make An Impact in Healthcare
    1. Introduction
    2. Clinical Ethics and Systems
    3. Innovative Strategies to Improve Effectiveness in Clinical Ethics
    4. Teaching Bioethics to Medical Students and Postgraduate Trainees in Clinical Setting
  9. Section VIII – Global Heath Ethics
    1. Introduction
    2. Global Health Ethics and Cross-Cultural Considerations
    3. Physician Participation in Torture
    4. Access to Medicines and the Role of Corporate Social Responsibility
    5. Global Health and Non-Ideal Justice
  10. Section IX – Religious and Cultural Perspectives in Bioethics
    1. Introduction
    2. Aboriginal Bioethics
    3. Buddhist Bioethics
    4. Chinese Bioethics
    5. Hindu and Sikh Bioethics
    6. Islamic Bioethics
    7. Jehovah’s Witness Bioethics
    8. Jewish Bioethics
    9. Protestant Bioethics
    10. Roman Catholic Bioethics
  11. Section X – Specialty Bioethics
    1. Introduction
    2. Surgical Ethics
    3. Anesthesiology Ethics
    4. Critical and Intensive Care Ethics
    5. Emergency and Trauma Medicine Ethics
    6. Primary Care Ethics
    7. Infectious Disease Ethics
    8. Psychiatric Ethics
    9. Neuroethics
    10. Pharmacy Ethics
    11. Alternative Complementary Care Ethics




Peter A. Singer is Director Emeritus of the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics; Senior Scientist at McLoughlin-Rotman Center for Global Health in the University Health Network at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Canada; and Sun Life Financial Chair in Bioethics and the Profession of Medicine at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Canada.

A.M. Viens is a Senior Scholar at Hertford College in Oxford, a Doctoral Student in the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Oxford, and a member of the Joint Centre for Bioethics at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Canada.