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ss triple helix - summer 2008,  Elements of Medical Law (2nd edition) (Book Review)

Elements of Medical Law (2nd edition) (Book Review)

Charles Foster - Claerhourt Publishing 2007 - £30 Pb 175pp - ISBN 978 1 905895 01 4

This short text provides an accessible account of a select range of complex medico-legal issues. It is a much improved second edition, revised and expanded to incorporate recent developments including the Mental Capacity Act. The first chapter examines 'legal issues before birth' and contains a useful overview of the law of genetics, fetal rights, and some of the issues arising under the HFE Act 1990 such as cloning and designer embryos. Some attention is paid to European jurisprudence, including recent case law on the protection given by the European Convention on Human Rights to the unborn child. Three chapters explore the law of consent, confidentiality and clinical negligence. Those hoping for detailed analysis may be disappointed. A number of underlying tensions, such as that reflected in the legal distinction drawn between a child's consent and refusal, are not pursued. The final chapter considers the 'law of death' and includes a discussion of murder and euthanasia, medical manslaughter, treatment withdrawal, advance directives, resource allocation, and the use and ownership of body parts. Brevity invariably limits its nature and scope, but this book is a distinctive and welcome addition to the medical law literature.

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