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Edited by C Barglund. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2004, pp 330. ISBN 0-19-5517-30-X
Oxford University Press has recently published a second edition of this popular and widely read primer on medical ethics. Designed as a teaching tool for a broad range of health care professionals, the text draws upon a series of contemporary problems as the author illustrates the key features of ethical thinking.
The chapters are designed in a sequential rather than encyclopaedic fashion, developing themes through a series of over 50 suggested tasks for the reader to engage in before moving further. Almost half of these individual and group exercises incorporating tutorial/problem based triggers are new to this edition, reflecting the author’s emphasis on helping the reader understand the material by placing it within their own context. Subsequent text then explores the issues, guiding the reader on the process of analysing everyday health care issues in an ethical framework, while focusing on the health care worker to client interaction.
Although many examples considered in the text are drawn from contemporary Australian sources, they are presented in an inclusive fashion for an international readership. In particular, the author considers the cultural, religious, and sociological contexts that inform ethical considerations, rather than limiting herself to any one theoretical framework.
In summary, this book provides an excellent programme of instruction for health care workers in applying ethical reasoning to the problems they encounter in everyday practice, leaving the reader with workable tools they can use on a daily basis.