Contemporary Catholic Health Care Ethics

Second Edition

David F. Kelly, Gerard Magill, and Henk ten Have

"Far outpaces other texts of its kind in its excellent presentation of the legal and scientific aspects related to medical ethics."
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Contemporary Catholic Health Care Ethics, Second Edition, integrates theology, methodology, and practical application into a detailed and practical examination of the bioethical issues that confront students, scholars, and practitioners. Noted bioethicists Gerard Magill, Henk ten Have, and David F. Kelly contribute diverse backgrounds and experience that inform the richness of new material covered in this second edition.

The book is organized into three sections: theology (basic issues underlying Catholic thought), methodology (how Catholic theology approaches moral issues, including birth control), and applications to current issues. New chapters discuss controversial end-of-life issues such as forgoing treatment, killing versus allowing patients to die, ways to handle decisions for incompetent patients, advance directives, and physician-assisted suicide. Unlike anthologies, the coherent text offers a consistent method in order to provide students, scholars, and practitioners with an understanding of ethical dilemmas as well as concrete examples to assist in the difficult decisions they must make on an everyday basis.

Table of Contents


Part I: Theological Basis

1. Religion and Health Care
2. The Dignity of Human Life
3. The Integrity of the Human Person
4. The Implications for Health Care
5. Theological Principles in Health Care Ethics

Part II: Method
6. The Levels and Questions of Ethics
7. Freedom and the Moral Agent
8. Right and Wrong
9. Metaethics
10. Method in Catholic Medical Ethics
11. Catholic Method and Birth Control
12. The Principle of Double Effect

PART III. Application
13. Forgoing Treatment, Pillar One: Ordinary and Extraordinary Means
14. Forgoing Treatment, Pillar Two: Killing and Allowing to Die
15. Forgoing Treatment, Pillar Three: Decisions by Competent Patients
16. Forgoing Treatment, Pillar Three: Decisions for Incompetent Patients
17. Forgoing Treatment, Pillar Three: Advance Directives
18. Hydration and Nutrition
19. Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia
20. Medical Futility
21. Pain and Pain Management
22. Ethics Committees
23. Research Ethics
24. Organizational Ethics
25. Embryonic Stem Cells and the Beginning of Personhood
26. Genetic Engineering: Ethics and Anthropology
27. Specific Issues in Genetics
28. Allocating Health Care Resources
29. The Use and Misuse of the Allocation Argument
30. Global Bioethics


Cases Cited




"Far outpaces other texts of its kind in its excellent presentation of the legal and scientific aspects related to medical ethics."—Health Progress

"Provides a mixture of medical and religious wisdom that helps explain how and why the Catholic healthcare establishment arrives at its conclusions."—Conscience

"The second edition of Contemporary Health Care Ethics is a welcome addition to the religious bioethics literature. It supplements the original edition with excellent discussions of the standard issues in bioethics from the perspectives of both recent scholarship and theological analysis. The second edition is a most helpful guide through the ever increasing complexities of contemporary bioethics."—Thomas A. Shannon, professor emeritus, religion and social ethics, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

"The second edition has been made even better. . . . New chapters on research ethics, organizational ethics, issues in genetics, and global bioethics have been added to make this a more complete text for anyone interested in a Catholic reflection on health care ethics."—James J. Walter, Austin & Ann O’Malley Chair in Bioethics, The Bioethics Institute, Loyola Marymount University


Supplemental Materials


About the Author

David F. Kelly is professor emeritus, Duquesne University.

Gerard Magill is Vernon F. Gallagher Chair for the Integration of Science, Theology, Philosophy, and Law, Center for Healthcare Ethics, Duquesne University.

Henk ten Have is the director of the Center for Healthcare Ethics, Duquesne University.

448 pp., 7 x 10

Apr 2013

448 pp., 7 x 10

ISBN: 978-1-58901-960-7
Apr 2013

448 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-58901-961-4
Apr 2013

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