Drawing the Line: Life, Death, and Ethical Choices in an American Hospital

Hardcover | June 1, 1990

bySamuel Gorovitz

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In 1985, philosopher Samuel Gorovitz spent seven weeks at Boston's Beth Israel, one of the nation's premier teaching hospitals, where he was given free run as "Authorized Snoop and Irritant-at-Large." In Drawing the Line, he provides an intense, disturbing, and insightful account of hisobservations during those seven weeks. Gorovitz guides us through an operating room and intensive care units, and takes us to meetings where surgeons discuss the mishaps of the preceding week, where internists map out their approaches to troublesome cases, where the administration discusses competition in the health care market. Hefollows as residents walk the ragged edge of physical exhaustion, as experienced physicians wrestle with the uncertainties of their demanding profession, as nurses struggle to care for perpetually declining patients. Most important, he examines the ethical questions that permeate their lives--deeplytroubling questions such as who should be making life and death decisions--and how should they be made? How should scarce medical resources be allocated? What rules should govern the use of fetal tissue in research and treatment? Where should we draw the line, and how? When Samuel Gorovitz published Doctors' Dilemmas, a previous look at medical ethics, it was hailed by Norman Cousins as "stimulating and valuable...the product of a beautifully formed (and informed) mind." Studs Terkel called it "quite remarkable...a very exciting book indeed." In Drawing theLine, Gorovitz offers an unusual look at contemporary health care, combining a moving, hard-hitting glimpse of daily reality at a major hospital with the thoughtful, provocative reflections of a highly respected philosopher.

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From Our Editors

Alarms sound at Boston's Beth Israel hospital as an older woman suffers a heart attack - a woman with pervasive, end-stage cancer. She has been in a coma for days, and there is no chance that she will emerge from it - much less live for very long. Still, the medical team flies into action, making heroic efforts to save her from cardiac...

From the Publisher

In 1985, philosopher Samuel Gorovitz spent seven weeks at Boston's Beth Israel, one of the nation's premier teaching hospitals, where he was given free run as "Authorized Snoop and Irritant-at-Large." In Drawing the Line, he provides an intense, disturbing, and insightful account of hisobservations during those seven weeks. Gorovi...

About the Author: Samuel Gorovitz is Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Philosophy at Syracuse University.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pagesPublished:June 1, 1990Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195044282

ISBN - 13:9780195044287

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From Our Editors

Alarms sound at Boston's Beth Israel hospital as an older woman suffers a heart attack - a woman with pervasive, end-stage cancer. She has been in a coma for days, and there is no chance that she will emerge from it - much less live for very long. Still, the medical team flies into action, making heroic efforts to save her from cardiac arrest because the family refuses to sign a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order. Is the struggle to extend this comatose, terminal patient's life a waste of effort for a hard-pressed hospital staff? Should the family have final say in this futile battle to extend her life?

Editorial Reviews

"It is the sort of book that any health care student would find illuminating to read before venturing onto the wards." --Bulletin of Medical Ethics