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Beyond the Hippocratic Oath


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About the Author

Dr John Dossetor is Professor Emeritus in Biomedical Ethics at the University of Alberta.


"One of the joys of this book is the clarity of the writing, a gift, perhaps, of the ethicist's analytical mind. Dossetor can explain complex medical procedures for lay readers without dumbing down his information. His one long paragraph on stem cells is an education in itself on that touchy topic. Another joy is the little intellectual challenges he presents..Like all good teachers, Dossetor knows how to make learning fun. His book is as readable as it is informative." Susan Ruttan, the Edmonton Journal, March 5, 2006. "The oath is "To Do No Harm". Modern medicine with its organ transplants, etc. has produced ethical dilemmas. This text gives examples and case studies in such problem areas as ending life and third world offers to sell organs to first world people. The author's study of bio-ethics lets us know what seems to be appropriate today." Ron MacIsaac, The Lower Island NEWS, April 2006. "Beyond The Hippocratic an engaging and knowledgeably written documentation of one man's career, marked by many medical innovations in the western world over the last few decades. The author has experienced a perpetually interesting life of discovery and breakthrough, and Dossetor presents this as an engaging story of medical progress. Beyond The Hippocratic Oath explores little-known ethical debates that accompanied the positive medical advances, and created dilemmas for many scientists in the 1980's, as well as many other intriguing occurrences in which he played a significant role. Very strongly recommended, Beyond The Hippocratic Oath is a highly encouraged read for students of medicine, ethics, and medical history, as well as non-specialist general readers with an interest in any of these topics." Midwest Book Review Internet Book Watch, February, 2006. "Modern medical ethics has evolved over decades of change: a process charted by John B. Dossetor in Beyond the Hippocratic Oath: A Memoir on the Rise of Modern Medical Ethics. Dr. Dossetor's survey links the evolution of modern medicine and bioethics by using his own practice and experiences as a foundation: he was a pioneer in nephrology, involved in early kidney transplantation, and routinely made life and death decisions for his patients. As time went on and medical issues became more complicated, he found the Oath increasingly tested by more complex issues. His sabbatical to study medical ethics resulted in a pioneering new program on the topic, and this reflects his work as well as his reflections on these dilemmas. College-level medical holdings should have this at hand." California Book Watch, May 2006. " Dossetor participated in the origins of renal dialysis and transplant surgery as treatments for kidney disease..Significant as his contributions have been as a kidney specialist, his place in Canadian history depends on how early he recognized the need for bioethical specialization at multiple levels, from hospitals to social policy..Dossetor looks back without blame or nostalgia. He assesses contemporary problems with the assurance that bioethicists are raising questions about what the sprawling, morphing new medicine ought to be doing." Arthur W. Frank, The Globe and Mail, May 20, 2005 "Dossetor's life, personal as well as professional, is chronicled in detail, but the book is wide ranging and the reader becomes immersed in the times portrayed..There is something in this book for everyone. There is material for the physician without a special interest in bioethics, especially the description of the 'training' of a distinguished physician..There is a great deal for the Canadian bioethicist. Here the history of the author parallels the history of bioethics through the latter part of the 20th century. Is the book then a historical text of a bioethics text?...[B]oth or neither! This is an autobiography, very well written, and well worth reading." Ian Mitchell, Canadian Bioethics Society Newsletter, Vol. 11, No.2, August, 2006. "Dossetor is keenly aware that the criteria for judging ethically correct behaviour have changed over the last 60 years..In making medical practitioners aware that their work has an ethical dimension, Dossetor has helped to change the way medicine is practised." Allan Belk, Canadian Book Review Annual, 2006. "The book has 3 themes, in fact: the course of Dossetor's long medical career, a history of the evolutionary changes in medicine during that time, and the development of medical ethics in response to those changes, 'weaving a web of values en route.'..[T]he writing progresses interestingly, weaving the book's themes in a way that carries the narrative along, and allows us to get to know the author somewhat as a person as well. In fact, getting to know the author even partially is one of the inspiring elements of the book-not only because of who it reveals Dossetor to be, but as an example of something bigger-an example of what an inquisitive individual with broad interests, sensitivity and drive can accomplish." Lawrence J. Hergott, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Vol. 175, No. 9, October 24, 2006. "Would you ever forcibly vaccinate a person? Make a 15-year-old girl undergo a heart transplant even though she didn't want it, but her entire family did? Perform a transplant on a man who had found a donor by advertising in the newspaper? These are all real situations that Dr. John Dossetor, a pioneer nephrologist in Canada and an expert in medical ethics, discusses in his fascinating book Beyond the Hippocratic Oath...Dossetor opens the door to a whole host of challenging questions with which all medical professionals should consciously grapple. The book is peppered with 'ethical dilemma' case studies that are fascinating to read just for themselves." Lucia Hwang, Registered Nurse, July/August 2007" "This book chronicles a fascinating career as well as the impressive development in an area of medicine. The issues raised by these and other scientific advances spur the ethical questions that Dr. Dossetor raises. Though well written, it is difficult to do justice to all this at once. Nonetheless, the book will be appreciated by those with a special interest in medical ethics or a humanist ethical perspective." Norm Kienitz, MD CCFP(EM), Canadian Family Physician, Vol 53, September 2007

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