The Woman Who Decided to Die


I’m continuing my lunch-time reading on my iPhone’s Kindle app with the book The Woman Who Decided to Die: Challenges and Choices at the Edges of Medicine by Ronald Munson. I’ll start the review with what I loved about the book and then end with… well, you’ll see.

As the title suggests, these are a series of essays discussing wide-ranging subjects in Medical Ethics. Each chapter covers one medical dilemma with a complete discussion of the ethics of the decision whether it is euthanasia or should patients be presented with unproven medical treatment protocols.

While the topics and subsequent examinations are thought provoking, they are approachable due to Dr Munson’s ability to take these complex subjects and distill them to its essence without losing the gravity of the discussion. This isn’t the type of book that my good friend (and fellow medical history/book nerd) Dr Dave Klingman would necessarily enjoy (he prefers his medical history to be less `heady’) but I really enjoyed the moral discussions.

Medical Ethics is one of those subjects that really interest me even though what’s right or what’s wrong today may not necessarily hold true in the future. Ethics can mold itself to whatever society deems required at a particular point and time. Given how much I detested philosophy in College, I surprised myself by really getting into the ideas presented in the book given that I prefer much more concrete discussions.

But I digress… This is a great book. It’s a great reminder that as much as Science and Medicine can do, the question always remains: should we? Can we? As long as we ask these questions, Medical Ethics will remain an important part of Medicine.

Now for the rest of the story.

As I mentioned above, I read this on my iPhone’s Kindle app. Once again, the publishers have done a major disservice to the author. At least the formatting wasn’t quite as bad as what I encountered by reading Treating the Brain: What the Best Doctors Know by Dr. Walter G. Bradley, but still, inexcusable.

Attention Publishers! I paid for this digital copy. I expect… nay, I demand that the digital copy look as good as the printed copy. There is no conceivable excuse for paragraphs to alternate between left and right justification; paragraphs that break into new paragraphs in the middle of sentences or any of that nonsense.

Again, there is No Excuse! I paid for this digital copy, so quit treating us e-readers like a pack of morons. Oxford University Press, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

(Reviewed 17 August, 2013)

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