New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by R. S. Downie (1996)
Palliative care is a recent branch of health care. The doctors, nurses, and other professionals involved in it took their inspiration from the medieval idea of the hospice, but have now extended their expertise to every area of health care: surgeries, nursing homes, acute wards, and the community. This has happened during a period when patients wish to take more control over their own lives and deaths, resources have become scarce, and technology has created controversial life-prolonging treatments. Palliative care is therefore faced with more ethical problems that other areas of health care. This book, by a clinician, teacher, and writer on health care ethics, has been written to provide all those who care for the terminally ill--doctors, nurses, social workers, clergymen, physiotherapists--with the concepts and principles which will assist them with difficult decisions. It challenges many received doctrines of palliative care, but its well-illustrated central theme is that technical expertise must be controlled by humane, non-technical judgments.