Book Review: Future Bioethics

As medicine and technology offer options undreamt of just fifty years ago, society is forced to grapple with difficult issues like stem cell research, genetically enhanced foods and new drug therapies. All too often, these cutting edge issues are addressed with contempt born of religious intolerance, ignorance or unfounded moral principles. With a strong focus on physician assisted suicides, Lindsay does an excellent job of exposing the weaknesses inherent in such arguments as “the sanctity of life.” He reveals data from Oregon clearly demonstrating that contrary to arguments that minorities would be unfairly targeted as candidates for assisted suicides, the suicide rate actually dropped. Further, the ongoing insensitivity of the terminally ill patient’s needs, while not exactly the point of the argument, goes a long way toward revealing an often callus disregard for a person’s quality of life.

The author goes on to expose the dangers found in the current trend among healthcare workers to refuse rendering treatment on the grounds of moral objection. Not only do such objections compromise patient’s personal rights by forcing them to live by someone else’s standards, they can seriously jeopardize patient health. Fears of “Frankenfoods”, “smart pills” and embryonic research are given the same careful consideration as Lindsay clearly lays out current arguments with their historical references. This is a thoughtful, clear-eyed look at some of the most important issues of the day and an invaluable guide for those seeking a more balanced perspective then what is typically presented by the mass media.

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