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By Kath Melia 160 pp., London: Sage, $40.95, 2004, paperback.


Brief: Rather than taking a moral philosophical approach, this book focuses on the empirical reality of clinical practice, especially in intensive care, as a means of opening up ethical debate in healthcare. Melia examines how ethical dilemmas are played out in everyday clinical practice, and calls for an approach to ethical decision making which focuses more on patients needs than competing professional interests. Dilemmas like whether to admit a patient and commence treatment; what the aim of treatment should be (palliation, care, or cure); and when to limit, withhold or withdraw treatment are approached from the goal of promoting the greater good of patients.


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