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General Practice and Ethics: Uncertainty and Responsibility
  1. Jane Macnaughton
  1. Director, Centre for Arts and Humanities in Health and Medicine, University of Durham

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    Edited by Christopher Dowrick and Lucy Frith, London, Routledge, 1999, 196 pages, £14.99.

    This book approaches its subject in two parts. Part I considers themes and principles relating to ethical decision making in general practice. The themes are those of uncertainty, responsibility (the problems of divided responsibility between the individual patient and the wider community), evidence-based medicine, patient-centredness and postmodernity. The “four principles” approach to ethics is discussed and ethico-legal problems are considered. Part II intends to relate these themes to four topics: prescribing, depression, advance directives and research in general practice. Except in the first chapter of Part II, on prescribing, by Colin Bradley, there is in fact little relationship between the principles and themes of the first part of the book and the consideration of topics in the second. However, the book does not claim to present a coherent approach to the subject but to be a series of discrete essays by different authors on related …

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