In riveting case studies, Robert Zussman describes how medical decisions in ICUs are considered and reconsidered, made and remade, negotiated and renegotiated. He concentrates on the practice of medical ethics, on the ways in which right and wrong are interpreted and used in the ward--how definitions of right and wrong emerge from the social situations of patients, families, doctors, and nurses and from the workings of hospitals and the courts. His book is a portrait of the way careful planning is undermined by the unpredictability of illness and the persistence of self-interest, by high principle and curious compromise.
Robert Zussman is professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Acknowledgments 1: Medical Ethics and the Medical Profession 2: Intensive Care Pt. 1: The Moral Order of Intensive Care 3: The Patient 4: Doctors: The Banality of Heroism 5: The Nurse's Dilemma 6: Patienthood and the Culture of Rights 7: Patients and Families Pt. 2: Medical Ethics: Triage and the Limitation of Treatment 8: "Penguins in the Basement" 9: Uncertainty, the Social Organization of Medicine, and Limitation of Treatment 10: Withholding, Withdrawing, and the "Terminal" Patient 11: Ethics, Families, and Technical Reason 12: The "Do Not Resuscitate" Order as Ritual 13: "A Legal Thing" 14: The Last Bed 15: Medicine's Two Cultures Appendix: On Method General Index Index of Doctors, Nurses, Patients, and Families of Patients