The Goals of Medicine

cover art
256 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9780878408450 (0878408452)

ISBN: 9781589014442

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October 2000
LC: 98-44650

Hastings Center Studies in Ethics series



The Goals of Medicine
The Forgotten Issues in Health Care Reform
Mark J. Hanson and Daniel Callahan, Editors

Debates over health care have focused for so long on economics that the proper goals for medicine seem to be taken for granted; yet problems in health care stem as much from a lack of agreement about the goals and priorities of medicine as from the way systems function. This book asks basic questions about the purposes and ends of medicine and shows that the answers have practical implications for future health care delivery, medical research, and the education of medical students.

The Hastings Center coordinated teams of physicians, nurses, public health experts, philosophers, theologians, politicians, health care administrators, social workers, and lawyers in fourteen countries to explore these issues. In this volume, they articulate four basic goals of medicine — prevention of disease, relief of suffering, care of the ill, and avoidance of premature death — and examine them in light of the cultural, political, and economic pressures under which medicine functions. In reporting these findings, the contributors touch on a wide range of diverse issues such as genetic technology, Chinese medicine, care of the elderly, and prevention and public health.

The Goals of Medicine clearly demonstrates the importance of clarifying the purposes of medicine before attempting to change the economic and organizational systems. It warns that without such examination, any reform efforts may be fruitless.

Mark J. Hanson is the associate for ethics and society at the Hastings Center.

The co-founder and former president of the Hastings Center, Daniel Callahan is currently the director of international programs for the Hastings Center and author of The Troubled Dream of Life, Setting Limits: Medical Goals in an Aging Society and What Kind of Life?: The Limits of Medical Progress (Georgetown University Press).

Gregory E. Kaebnick and Daniel Callahan, Series Editors
"This is quite simply a splendid book. It enhances the reputation of those who wrote it, of Daniel Callahan who conceived it, and the already high reputation of the Hastings Center . . . Well-produced and attractive to read, this book is one that thinking people will love . . . This fine book should be on every medical bookshelf."—Bioethics