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Book Review: Medical Law & Ethics Print E-mail

book_medical_law.jpgMedical Law & Ethics: A Problem Based Approach

Author: Bernadette Richards1 and Jennie Louise 2
Publisher: Lexis Nexis Butterworths3

Reviewed By James McNab

This book is primarily aimed at law students and students of medicine.  It would also benefit people who practise in the area of medicine and law.  It is a relatively succinct text. Nonetheless, it covers a wide range of topics that impact upon both the areas of law and medicine.

The book is comprised of 9 chapters and 342 pages which target areas of health and law which are relevant to practitioners, particularly, medical practitioners.  Some of the chapters deal with the rights and duties of a patient, the very important areas of consent to medical treatment, privacy and confidentiality, end of life decisions and organ donation to name just a few.

The book is written in a way that makes it accessible and understandable for a non- lawyer to comprehend.  Of some benefit to the reader, particularly if they are a student, is that the authors have included practical scenarios together with discussion questions as well as the basic text.  The scenarios are of a practical and clinical nature. But they also draw out important legal issues.

Medical Law and Ethics manages to combine clinical and legal perspectives of medical issues with the important ethical considerations that lie within those issues.  Although the book is aimed more towards a medical practitioner, it equally has a great deal of relevance to all those practising or studying in health related fields such as, nursing and allied health professionals.

The book has been well researched and has relevant and up to date cases and legislation which are used to assist the reader in learning the legal aspects of their decision making.

James McNab



  1. Senior Lecturer, Law School, University of Adelaide.  She teaches tort law, medical law and ethics.
  2. Lecturer, Discipline of Public Health, University of Adelaide.  She teaches medical and health ethics.
  3. RRP is $110.00 direct from the publisher

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