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The Silent World of Doctor and Patient

, 320 pages
October 2002



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The Silent World of Doctor and Patient

In this eye-opening look at the doctor-patient decision-making process, physician and law professor Jay Katz examines the time-honored belief in the virtue of silent care and patient compliance. Historically, the doctor-patient relationship has been based on a one-way trust—despite recent judicial attempts to give patients a greater voice through the doctrine of informed consent. Katz criticizes doctors for encouraging patients to relinquish their autonomy, and demonstrates the detrimental effect their silence has on good patient care. Seeing a growing need in this age of medical science and sophisticated technology for more honest and complete communication between physician and patients, he advocates a new, informed dialogue that respects the rights and needs of both sides.

In a new foreword to this edition of The Silent World of Doctor and Patient, Alexander Morgan Capron outlines the changes in medical ethics practice that have occurred since the book was first published in 1984, paying particular attention to the hotly debated issues of physician-assisted suicide and informed consent in managed care.

Jay Katz, M.D., is Elizabeth Dollard Professor Emeritus of Law, Medicine, and Psychiatry and Harvey L. Karp Professional Lecturer in Law and Psychoanalysis at Yale University. Alexander Morgan Capron, is University Professor, Henry W. Bruce Professor of Equity, Professor of Medicine, and the Co-Director of the Pacific Center for Health Policy and Ethics at the University of Southern California.

"A remarkable book... Goes a long way towards ending the silence that ultimately dehumanizes both doctor and patient."

"What gives this book unusual power is Dr. Katz's understanding of the historical origins of doctors' silence and his perceptive analysis of the relationship between doctor and patient that has led to this silent state."

"Jay Katz's poetic manifesto... will no doubt long be noted as a milestone on the rehumanization effort."

"A thoughtful analysis of the doctor-patient relationship and informed consent: clearly a labor of love based on years in medicine, law, psychiatry, and psychoanalysis."

"As compelling and vital as it was when it appeared two decades ago. Tragically its critique of contemporary medicine still is right... A classic. It merits attention and discussion."

"A much-needed addition to the bioethical canon. "

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