Book/Report

Medical Harm: Historical, Conceptual, and Ethical Dimensions of Iatrogenic Illness.

Sharpe VA; Faden AI

An academic exploration into the history of patient harm, this book explores the ethics that drive decision making and management of the professionals involved. Within that context, the changes in the patient-physician relationships over time are reviewed. The problems and dangers inherent in medical progress, from adverse drug reactions to unnecessary surgery, are discussed, and causative factors from both the clinical and administrative sides of medicine are presented as contributors to the situation. The complexity of care relationships is viewed as playing a role in how appropriate treatment for patients is determined. The authors believe that the more players involved with the decision-making process, the more opportunities for dysfunction arise. They close by presenting ideas for minimizing iatrogenic illness, with the caveat that it can never be removed completely due to the humanness of the process of medicine.