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August 24, 1984

Case Studies in Primary Medical Care: Social, Psychological and Ethical Issues in Family Practice

Author Affiliations

Fairleigh Dickinson University Rutherford, NJ

JAMA. 1984;252(8):1064-1065. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350080064035

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


The authors of this volume attempt to provide medical educators with a vehicle for discussing and devising strategies to cope with ethical dilemmas faced by the family-practice physician—an admirable undertaking. It makes use of the case approach of the Harvard Business School, presenting eight scenarios of fictionalized situations, each accompanied by short journal articles containing information or advice supposedly (but not in all cases actually) relevant to resolving the dilemma. In addition, the author-editors include instructions for leading group discussions and for devising new scenarios.

The scenarios that Houts and Leaman present involve problems that the social world creates for physicians to a much greater degree than problems that the medical profession creates for the world. For instance, a patient becomes an adherent of a Christian religious healing group and thereafter does not want to comply with medical orders; a physician supported by a manufacturing company later discovers that company