In 1985, philosopher Samuel Gorovitz spent seven weeks at Boston's Beth Israel, one of the nation's premier teaching hospitals, where he was given free run as "Authorized Snoop and Irritant-at-Large." In Drawing the Line, he provides an intense, disturbing, and insightful account of his observations during those seven weeks.
Gorovitz guides us through an operating room and intensive care units, and takes us to meetings where surgeons discuss the mishaps of the preceding week, where internists map out their approaches to troublesome cases, where the administration discusses competition in the health care market. He follows as residents walk the ragged edge of physical exhaustion, as experienced physicians wrestle with the uncertainties of their demanding profession, as nurses struggle to care for perpetually declining patients. Most important, he examines the ethical questions that permeate their lives--deeply troubling questions such as who should be making life and death decisions--and how should they be made? How should scarce medical resources be allocated? What rules should govern the use of fetal tissue in research and treatment? Where should we draw the line, and how?
When Samuel Gorovitz published Doctors' Dilemmas, a previous look at medical ethics, it was hailed by Norman Cousins as "stimulating and valuable...the product of a beautifully formed (and informed) mind." Studs Terkel called it "quite remarkable...a very exciting book indeed." In Drawing the Line, Gorovitz offers an unusual look at contemporary health care, combining a moving, hard-hitting glimpse of daily reality at a major hospital with the thoughtful, provocative reflections of a highly respected philosopher.
"A small gem of medical philosophy....Hospital advertisements, medical expenses, surrogate motherhood, and doctor-patient relations are among...issues explored with characteristic care. This all may sound dry, but in fact it's captivating, thanks to Gorovitz's decision to confront issues as they naturally arise in the course of day-to-day hospital operations. This grounds his difficult, sometimes abstruse themes in real-life, flesh-and-blood struggles giving
his conclusions added authority."--Kirkus Reviews
"Bravissimo!"--Walter G. Gunn, writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association
"This book could have a definite impact on the thinking and planning of all those associated with health care....Gorovitz displays a keen ability to personify general problems without reducing them to a soap-opera level."--Booklist
"Lively, engaging, and thought provoking....Gorovitz uses his experiences and observations from his brief sojourn as a jumping-off point for an extensive analytical commentary...about the moral challenges confronting America's health care system and those who work within it."--Ethics
"The author's detailed accounts, accompanied by thoughtful insights, bring clarity to the many difficult and perplexing issues challenging the delivery of medical care."--Choice
"An interesting and unusual combination of anecdote and commentary....This intelligent book is easily accessible to general readers and will also interest professionals in medicine and medical ethics."--The New England Journal of Medicine
"His experiences are recorded anecdotally with the compassion of a humanist, the wit of a humorist, and the clear-sighted logic of a philosopher."--School Library Journal
"Medical ethics is recovering an appreciation for the role of discretion in clinical judgment and health care politics. Drawing the Line puts Samuel Gorovitz in the vanguard of this reevaluation. This is analytically adept, commonsense philosophy, as concerned with the character of moral judgment as it is with the criteria and ends of moral action. It is also high-caliber practical philosophy, informed by ideas, deepened by experience, and attentive
to practice."--Hastings Center Report
"This book could have a definite impact on the thinking and planning of all those associated with health care....Gorovitz displays a keen ability to personify general problems without reducing them to a soap-operal level,"--Booklist
"It is the sort of book that any health care student would find illuminating to read before venturing onto the wards." --Bulletin of Medical Ethics