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.
Zussman (sociology, State U. of New York at Stony Brook) describes how medical decisions in intensive units are considered, made, negotiated, and done all over again. Based on case studies collected 1985-89, he emphasizes how medical ethics emerge from specific situations and personal values. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)