Strange Bedfellows. How Medical Jurisprudence Has Influenced Medical Ethics and Medical Practice
B A Rich, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 2001, $US55, pp 196. ISBN: 0306466651
Ben Rich’s stated aim in this book is to prove that the legal system has had a positive rather than a negative impact on medical practice and research. When lawyers are often attacked (by the medical professions and governments alike) for their role in medical litigation this conclusion seems to be at odds with our experience. Rich’s text is a timely and scholarly contribution to the debate about the role of the legal system in medicine. While it may not prove to be completely convincing, the work offers penetrating insights into how the American legal system has influenced bioethics, primarily because of the way that it provides an ultimate forum for the resolution of ethical disputes.
Rich’s initial chapters serve as an introduction to schools of medical ethics and jurisprudence. Chapters two and three will be of real benefit to the new student of bioethics as Rich provides very clear and concise summaries of the major schools of ethics …