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December 12, 1977

Case Studies in Medical Ethics

JAMA. 1977;238(24):2641. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280250067031

In days gone by, the regulation of medical behavior was left to internal professional peer review. Those with similar ideas could judge best how medical matters were applied to those needing attention. The wisdom of such self-policing has been under considerable review in the past decade, as a somewhat new breed of individuals has emerged, mostly from the fields of philosophy and jurisprudence, whose roles appear to be those of examiners of conduct and teachers of the complexities, manners, and concepts inherent in the sphere of medical decision making.

Robert Veatch is one of this new breed, and his latest treatise, Case Studies in Medical Ethics, is directed at helping the medical practitioner (as well as the medical policy-maker, educator, innovator, and participant) grasp the complexities of ethics and human values at a most elemental level. The case method has frequently been employed as a pedagogic tool for fastening abstract