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Who Says You're Dead? Medical & Ethical Dilemmas for the Curious & Concerned
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Who Says You're Dead? Medical & Ethical Dilemmas for the Curious & Concerned

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  92 ratings  ·  42 reviews
The Book of Questions meets What If? in this profound, provocative, and addictively engaging book of medical cases that asks, "What would you do?"

“An original, compelling, and provocative exploration of ethical issues in our society, with thoughtful and balanced commentary. I have not seen anything like it.” --Alan Lightman, author of Einstein’s Dreams
Bedside Dilemmas brings the most challenging an/>Bedsideof Einstein’sIf
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 8th 2019 by Algonquin Books
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 ·  92 ratings  ·  42 reviews

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Start your review of Who Says You're Dead? Medical & Ethical Dilemmas for the Curious & Concerned
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs-2019

Jacob Appel has given us another unique book this time looking at mostly medical cases as they might, or are viewed ethically. While the book is nonfiction, the patients' privacy has been protected by name and details changed.
As mentioned in the book's summary, and most appropriate, it's similar to a, "What would you do?" if you were the decision maker on each case. While the details are given, Jacob presents a few thought-provoking questions just to spur us on.
The best feature, in m
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The author is a psychiatrist and bioethicist and he does a great job of sharing thought-provoking ethical dilemmas in the health profession. Each brief chapter describes a scenario and ends with a medical conundrum. Each section features a commentary/reflection from serious (birth defects, eugenics, DNA testing etc.) to relatively mundane interactions (patient-doctor conduct, patient prejudice, business cost etc). There is no conlusion to be made, in fact, the author serves up these musings for ...more
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While I do not usually pick up nonfiction books, the title of this book intrigued me too much to ignore looking further into its content. I know the bare minimum about the medical sciences (enough to get me by at the doctor’s office), but I was amazed by how comprehensive the author made each topic and case study. In my own library-minded opinion, this was an easy-to-read and thoroughly researched piece of nonfiction.

One of my favorite moments was learning about the “yuck factor,” which is when
Cynthia Herzog
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I won this book for GoodReads

This book poses a number of ethical issues that arise in real life medicine. Many of these issues are presented from extremes, which the author acknowledges. As a physician, I can confirm that these issues do indeed arise frequently, however, usually much more in the gray area.

The author does not provide answers, but provides context from which the issue can be approached by different people. Although some will take a firm stance on one side o
thereadingowlvina (Elvina Ulrich)
What an insightful and eye-opening book about ethical dilemmas the medical profession faces in this ever changing society. There are six parts in this book with different scenarios under each part and the ethical issues that comes with it. For example, is it ethical for a doctor to reveal to the father or his daughter that they are not biological related when genetic markers during an organ match test reveals that they are not? Is it ethical for prisoners on death row who need organ transplant t ...more
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.

Who Says You're Dead? brings the most challenging and unsettling ethics controversies from contemporary science and medicine to the proverbial water cooler. Drawing upon the author’s two decades teaching medical ethics at America’s top universities and medical
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a medical book for the masses, both informative and entertaining. The doctor/author is a bioethics professor, so he knows the topic very well. He presents all the information in an easy-to-follow, straightforward style. Each chapter covers a different ethical area, then subdivided into specific, brief cases with possible responses. There are no definitive answers, but rather many different opinions are offered. An extensive bibliography is also included. The author humorously uses well-k ...more
Ken Kugler
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I started this book because I was just looking for something different that was in the house. It sounded interesting and so I started. It is made up of short medical delemmas and interesting questions of the ethics involved. What to do? What do you think? Both compelling thoughts that keep you going. There are 79 of them that are used in this book and I liked them, pretty much, all.
I say that it is a good book to start and see what you think. You can always skip a dilemma if it is not your
Sep 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
3.5 stars

I wasn't sure if I should pick up this book, but when I saw that the author is not only a practicing psychiatrist but also a bioethicist and attorney, I couldn't resist.

Appel looks at 79 dilemmas, some rare (can a millionaire advertise for a new liver?) to situations many of us will face (decisions regarding end of life care). Each case is introduced in a succinct vignette and followed up with a reflection covering legal, ethical, and personal issues that may aff
Robert Lee Hadden
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those great summer reads, that is also a great book for the little room with no windows. Seventy-nine short descriptions of medical ethics quandaries all follow the same format: a brief description of the question, a commentary showing opposing ideas, and then some direction by laws or customs. Includes a good section for further reading.

Some questions are familiar, such as how to define life or death. Others are blindingly new, such as head transplants, what to do wit
Sep 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, nonfiction, arcs2019
Interesting medical scenarios are laid out along with a discussion of the ethical issues involved in each one. If you watch many medical or legal TV shows, you have probably seen some of these situations presented. While no answers are provided, the book would make for a lively book discussion or a useful tool for training doctors and lawyers in the field of bioethics.

Thanks to the publisher for providing this advance reading copy.
Apr 27, 2019 added it
I would recommend this book for anybody considering the medical field, or people who enjoy playing "armchair doctor" whether while watching medical shows (reality-based or not). If you think an issue wasn't featured in enough detail, the last 10% or so of the book does contain citations for further reading. (I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.)
Aug 29, 2019 rated it liked it
A blood test in preparation for a kidney donation reveals that the daughter donating the organ is not her father's biological daughter. Should she be informed? How about the father? This and dozens of other ethical dilemmas in medicine are presented by Dr. Appel in his latest book. Each chapter opens with a possible scenario, many – if not most – of which appear to be based on a real case, and we are asked, "What should they do?" He then offers several possibilities, and includes historical cont ...more
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-thing
Very accessible survey of the ever expanding array of ethical and medical questions facing physicians, researchers and courts resulting from the advances in life sustaining and life creating technologies in the past fifty years.

Appel introduces each of his dilemmas in brief, inviting the reader to form a gut reaction, then goes on to provide the history and precedent, in most cases not quite stating a preferred conclusion. References to schools of philosophical thought round things out nicely.<
Penny Wright
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, non-fiction
I'm the kind of person who is fascinated by interesting medical cases, morbid sciences, and difficult ethical choices, so this book was perfect for me. Author Jacob M. Appel asks a ton of medical questions based on real scenarios and gives insight into what options medical professionals could take. As a bioethicist, he is the perfect person to present these questions to readers. Scenarios range from local governments adding lithium into the water for communities with high suicide rates to whethe ...more
Bex Kula Hildrew
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Posed a lot of interesting questions. Glad I listened to the audiobook rather than read it though. I don’t think it would have kept my attention as text but definitely a good one to have in the background while accomplishing tasks. One thing I had to get over though, was that the narrator’s voice reminded me very much of Wallace Shawn. So I spent the first few chapters imagining Vizzini having a medical ethics debate with The Dread Pirate Roberts.
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great book for anyone who is curious about ethics in medicine, especially in our changing times, and how medical professionals are solving problems today. This is also an excellent book for writers who might be looking for ideas - I know I got some!
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Immensely important book

Jacob M Appel is an American author, physician, bioethicist (Bioethics, the study of typically controversial ethics brought about by advances in biology and medicine, is also moral discernment as it relates to medical policy, practice, and research. Bioethicists are concerned with the ethical questions that arise in the relationships among life sciences, biotechnology, medicine, politics, law, and philosophy), lawyer and social critic. He couples his fame for
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I must say that the description of this book from the publisher is very accurate. It explains very well what this title is really about. This book presents short scenarios in which an ethical dilemma in the medical field presents itself. The author presents the scenario and proceeds to give you the possible costs and benefits of each side of the choices that could be made. This is not a book where the author gives you his two cents worth for every situation and why his decision is the best possi ...more
A 75-year-old needs a kidney transplant. His 49-year-old daughter submits to testing to see if she can donate her kidney to him. Not only is she not a match, but she is not actually his daughter. Does the doctor who receives the test results need to tell her this?*

Dr. Appel is a psychiatrist and bioethicist. His book is full of short, often horrifying scenarios along with discussions about what would be ethical or unethical in each specific case.

This fascinating book inspired me to
Carlos Mock
Oct 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Who says you're dead? Medical & Ethical Dilemmas for the Curious & Concerned by Jacob M. Appel, MD

Bioethicists often refer to the four basic principles of health care ethics when evaluating the merits and difficulties of medical procedures. Ideally, for a medical practice to be considered "ethical", it must respect all four of these principles: autonomy, justice, beneficence, and non-maleficence.

In his latest book, Dr. Appel tries to apply these concepts to the co
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Who Says You're Dead? presents a myriad of challenging and controversial medical ethical decisions that physicians come up against in the course of their profession.

Each ethical situation is presented with the facts of the case, and then reflected on with stating both the positive and negative ramifications as well as any historical precedents for each of the possible outcomes. These dilemmas weigh heavily on not only the physicians, patients and the medical community but on societies as well.<
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading Who Says You're dead, a collection of hypothetical medical dilemmas designed to spark debate and reflection. All of the cases were thought-provoking, and I found myself trying to figure out what I would do in the situation before I read the author's explanation to see how my opinion matched up. More often than not, though, I found myself marveling at how complicated the outcome actually was and how complicated medical decisions really are. It's a good reminder that playi ...more
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sighhh.... I was going to rate this book 3 stars, however I didn't think it would be fair to reduce the amount of stars based on the fact that I was left feeling unimpressed (mininal shock factor) by 95% of the book from having worked more than a decade in the medical field myself. Based on the catchy title I was really hoping to be more engaged and entertained than I was, as a lover of all things science and medical. However, this book is really more for people with minimal medical and healthca ...more
Aug 22, 2019 rated it liked it
I received this book in exchange for a review.

I really wanted to like this book. I love the idea of exposing people to various ethical issues and walking them through things they would have to consider in that situation. I felt a lot of the cases dealt with the extreme situations, and missed more of the nuance or gray areas you may get IRL. Also several of the scenarios once you got to the reflection part were basically discussing the same issue (example several that basically dealt
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you want a book that makes you think and possibly reconsider your position...THIS IS IT!!! Ethical dilemmas are briefly outlined on a single page, giving the reader enough information to form an opinion, followed by 2-3 pages with valid reasoning to support or change one's mind. Often the law is unsettled and an answer does not exist (i.e. a decision may be allowed, but is it ethical?). Controversial issues are guaranteed to lead to interesting conversations. What a great book to help one und ...more
Dustin Manning
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My brain is broken after this read. I began each ethical quandary with a pretty much decided opinion ( a basic knee jerk response ) and then the discussion portion hit and i stopped KNOWING where i stood. This book can be reproached often and should be read over and over again piecemeal ( after being devoured as a whole) to really digest each dilemma. I could see getting together with friends and discussing one chapter a week and really understanding oneself and where your ethics lie and why and ...more
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Super fascinating. As with most philosophical and ethical questions, there aren't easy answers which can be frustrating when reading, but the author did a good job examining different points of view and circumstances where one choice might be preferred over another. Learned a lot. Every single question in this book could easily become the plot of a novel - they're all really interesting to consider and discuss.
Anna Smith
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another one of those obscure books that I find myself totally into. I was having a conversation with my mom the other day about wierd medical ethics situations and she mentioned she had just got this book from Amazon. 24hrs later, I've finished it. It goes in depth into many different ethics cases from donor rights to end of life options, showing that many times these hard situations are surrounded by a grey area of ethics.
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I found this book to be a very interesting read. It presents many hypothetical scenarios that involve medical and ethical dilemmas with reflections on each. The author doesn't provide an answer to any of them, but instead provides information on various possibilities that allows of to put more thought into these things.
I would definitely recommend this.

I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway.
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**Please note: A limited number of complimentary electronic copies of several of my books are available for review. Please email me directly if you are interested**

Jacob M. Appel's first novel, The Man Who Wouldn't Stand Up, won the Dundee International Book Award in 2012. His short story collection, Scouting for the Reaper, won the 2012 Hudson Prize. He has published short fiction in