A doctor is sued for not adequately warning a pregnant patient about
the dangers of drinking. A bartender declines to serve a pregnant customer
and is fired. Battered by her husband, a pregnant alcoholic seeks help at
a hospital and finds herself under arrest for endangering the safety of her
These are but a few of the intriguing moral and legal dilemmas examined
in Janet Golden’s cleverly titled Message in a Bottle. Much more than a “biography of a diagnosis,” as she modestly
terms it (p 9), this book delves deeply into the historical, political, legal,
and social dimensions of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). In clear, lively prose,
Golden traces the history of FAS and then explores its ramifications for health
care policy, legal action, women’s issues, fetal rights, and controversies
over alcohol use.
Powers M. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. JAMA. 2005;294(4):495–500. doi:10.1001/jama.294.4.498
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