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Book Reviews
May 2009

Ethical Issues in Neurology, 3rd ed

Author Affiliations



by James L. Bernat, MD, 544 pp, $84.95, ISBN 978-0-7817-9060-4, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (Wolters Kluwer), 2008.

Arch Neurol. 2009;66(5):673-674. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2009.62

This is a third edition of a highly respected book on ethics in neurology. In addition to a general update of all the chapters, the author has added a chapter on resolving ethical dilemmas and another on neuroethics. This important book should be read not only by neurologists but by anyone involved in clinical ethics.

The book has 4 sections. The first includes a general discussion of ethical theory and practice. These chapters are best approached not as lessons in philosophical ethics but as lucid descriptions of how various ethical theories and concepts are currently used in the clinical ethics literature. The second section addresses issues in death and dying. The author provides excellent summaries of the history, law, and various arguments for and against euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, as well as lucid discussions of medical futility, palliative care, and how to deal with refusals of life-sustaining treatments. These are very high-quality chapters. The first 2 sections of this book, along with other chapters of general interest (eg, chapter on human immunodeficiency virus and other chapters under the Neurology section), make this book of interest to readers far beyond neurology.

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