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Intensive Care

Medical Ethics and the Medical Profession

In riveting case studies, Robert Zussman describes how medical decisions in ICUs are considered and reconsidered, made and remade, negotiated and renegotiated. He concentrates on the practice of medical ethics, on the ways in which right and wrong are interpreted and used in the ward—how definitions of right and wrong emerge from the social situations of patients, families, doctors, and nurses and from the workings of hospitals and the courts.

His book is a portrait of the way careful planning is undermined by the unpredictability of illness and the persistence of self-interest, by high principle and curious compromise.

260 pages | 11 line drawings, 3 tables | 6 x 9 | © 1992


Sociology: General Sociology

Table of Contents

1: Medical Ethics and the Medical Profession
2: Intensive Care
Pt. 1: The Moral Order of Intensive Care
3: The Patient
4: Doctors: The Banality of Heroism
5: The Nurse’s Dilemma
6: Patienthood and the Culture of Rights
7: Patients and Families
Pt. 2: Medical Ethics: Triage and the Limitation of Treatment
8: "Penguins in the Basement"
9: Uncertainty, the Social Organization of Medicine, and Limitation of Treatment
10: Withholding, Withdrawing, and the "Terminal" Patient
11: Ethics, Families, and Technical Reason
12: The "Do Not Resuscitate" Order as Ritual
13: "A Legal Thing"
14: The Last Bed
15: Medicine’s Two Cultures
Appendix: On Method
General Index
Index of Doctors, Nurses, Patients, and Families of Patients


ASA Section on Medial Sociology: Eliot Freidson Award

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