Before Bioethics: A History of American Medical Ethics from the Colonial Period to the Bioethics Revolution

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9780199774111: Before Bioethics: A History of American Medical Ethics from the Colonial Period to the Bioethics Revolution

Before Bioethics narrates the history of American medical ethics from its colonial origins to current bioethical controversies over abortion, AIDS, animal rights, and physician-assisted suicide. This comprehensive history tracks the evolution of American medical ethics over four centuries, from colonial midwives and physicians' oaths to medical society codes, through the bioethics revolution. Applying the concept of "morally disruptive technologies," it analyzes the impact of the stethoscope on conceptions of fetal life and the criminalization of abortion, and the impact of the ventilator on our conception of death and the treatment of the dying. The narrative offers tales of those whose lives were affected by the medical ethics of their era: unwed mothers executed by puritans because midwives found them with stillborn babies; the unlikely trio-an Irishman, a Sephardic Jew and in-the-closet gay public health reformer-who drafted the American Medical Association's code of ethics but received no credit for their achievement, and the founder of American gynecology celebrated during his own era but condemned today because he perfected his surgical procedures on un-anesthetized African American slave women. The book concludes by exploring the reasons underlying American society's empowerment of a hodgepodge of ex-theologians, humanist clinicians and researchers, lawyers and philosophers-the bioethicists-as authorities able to address research ethics scandals and the ethical problems generated by morally disruptive technologies.

To access the companion website for Before Bioethics: A History of American Medical Ethics from the Colonial Period to the Bioethics Revolution, please visit: http://global.oup.com/us/companion.websites/9780199774111/

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About the Author:


Robert Baker is William D. Williams Professor of Philosophy at Union College and Director of the Union Graduate College-Mount Sinai School of Medicine Bioethics Program. A four-time National Endowment for the Humanities awardee, Baker is founding chair of the Affinity Group on the History of Medical Ethics of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. He has authored, co-authored, edited or co-edited numerous scholarly articles, reports and books, including the American Medical Ethics Revolution and The Cambridge World History of Medical Ethics. Both books were awarded a citation by Choice, the journal of academic libraries, as an "outstanding book in the health sciences" for their respective years. Baker also co-authored a 2008 report on African American physicians and organized medicine that prompted the board of the AMA to apologize publicly for its past treatment of African American physicians.

Review:


"In this remarkable and important book, Baker reminds us that bioethics did not appear from nowhere, but rather is the most recent incarnation of medical morality: the contemporary version of the codes that have governed medical practice in America since the Puritans." - Raymond de Vries, Bioethics Program, School of Medicine, University of Michigan


"Since its origins in the 1970s, few would be surprised to find philosophers, lawyers,
theologians as well as physicians and scientists involved in bioethics. Is such involvement
and its results truly a revolutionary rejection of what went before? The author uses historical and clinical vignettes throughout to illustrate concepts such as ethics (e.g., formal codes) and morality (e.g., unwritten systems such as truth and forgiveness in clinical training). This makes for interesting and enjoyable reading even in the case of a seemingly arcane subject such as midwives oaths of the seventeenth century...Before Bioethics readers may find all or parts of this well written, extensively referenced monograph (available as an e-book) valuable." --R. F. Gillum, M.D., Howard University College of Medicine


"Baker provides a new and extremely engaging historical account of medical ethics in the US, including the 17th-century oaths of fidelity and diligence taken by midwives and the early-19th-century codes of the various medical police through the lens of 'morally disruptive technologies.' These discussions set the stage for a better understanding of the standard 20th-century bioethics origin story and the field itself, which the author includes in this work. Summing up: Recommended." --M. M. Gills, CHOICE


"This book is a scholarly masterpiece, providing a balanced perspective on the history of medical ethics and morals supporded by credible and well incorporated research." --Doody's Health Sciences Book Review


"This ambitious book is a significant contribution to the histories of medical ethics and bioethics." -- Journal of the History of Medicine


"The prodigious amount of research evident on every page of Before Bioethics helps to explain why such a book had never been written before. This is Baker's magnum opus and it will surely become and remain a standard reference." -- James C. Mohr, Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal


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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 238 x 162 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Before Bioethics narrates the history of American medical ethics from its colonial origins to current bioethical controversies over abortion, AIDS, animal rights, and physician-assisted suicide. The first history of American medical ethics published in more than a half century, Before Bioethics tracks the evolution of American medical ethics from colonial midwives and physicians oaths, to medical society codes and bioethical principles. Applying the concept of morally disruptive technologies, it analyzes the impact of the stethoscope on conceptions of fetal life and the criminalization of abortion, and the impact of the ventilator on our conception of death and the treatment of the dying. The narrative offers tales of those whose lives were affected by the medical ethics of their era: unwed mothers executed by puritans because midwives found them with stillborn babies; the unlikely trio-an Irishman, a Sephardic Jew and in-the-closet gay public health reformer-who drafted the American Medical Association s code of ethics but received no credit for their achievement, and the founder of American gynecology celebrated during his own era but condemned today because he perfected his surgical procedures on un-anesthetized African American slave women. The book concludes by exploring the reasons underlying American society s empowerment of a hodgepodge of ex-theologians, humanist clinicians and researchers, lawyers and philosophers-the bioethicists-as authorities able to address research ethics scandals and the ethical problems generated by morally disruptive technologies. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780199774111

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 238 x 162 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Before Bioethics narrates the history of American medical ethics from its colonial origins to current bioethical controversies over abortion, AIDS, animal rights, and physician-assisted suicide. The first history of American medical ethics published in more than a half century, Before Bioethics tracks the evolution of American medical ethics from colonial midwives and physicians oaths, to medical society codes and bioethical principles. Applying the concept of morally disruptive technologies, it analyzes the impact of the stethoscope on conceptions of fetal life and the criminalization of abortion, and the impact of the ventilator on our conception of death and the treatment of the dying. The narrative offers tales of those whose lives were affected by the medical ethics of their era: unwed mothers executed by puritans because midwives found them with stillborn babies; the unlikely trio-an Irishman, a Sephardic Jew and in-the-closet gay public health reformer-who drafted the American Medical Association s code of ethics but received no credit for their achievement, and the founder of American gynecology celebrated during his own era but condemned today because he perfected his surgical procedures on un-anesthetized African American slave women. The book concludes by exploring the reasons underlying American society s empowerment of a hodgepodge of ex-theologians, humanist clinicians and researchers, lawyers and philosophers-the bioethicists-as authorities able to address research ethics scandals and the ethical problems generated by morally disruptive technologies. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780199774111

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