Who Says You're Dead?

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 22 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

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 something is morally wrong yet difficult to explain why. 
There are many interesting tidbits and historical facts to read and learn in this work and I think the author did an excellent job of reiterating many points into a layman’s understanding of the medical field and its ethical concerns.
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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 the readers’ “intellectual pleasure,” and it is a veritable smorgasbord.
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This collection of moral and ethical dilemmas is an interesting read that urges the reader to step into the shoes of others in many wildly different situations. There is a frank discussion of the pros and cons of each decision, but ultimately the reader is left to ask themselves, “what is the right thing to do?” I enjoyed this book and were I a librarian for adults, I would absolutely include it in my collection. The author makes your question yourself, society, and the choices we make every day.
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Jacob Appel's thought-provoking WHO SAYS YOU'RE DEAD? should be a first purchase for all general nonfiction collections, particulary those where ethics, philosophy and pop-psychology are popular. Also highly recommended for high school collections.
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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 to "jump the line" in the waiting list? Is xenotransplantation ethical when it involves a five month-old girl with a severe congenital heart defect? Ah, you get what I mean? These are interesting ethical issues. This book is thought-provoking, intriguing and shocking and should not be read in one sitting. It is replete with information and should be devoured slowly! 

***I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from Algonquin Books through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All views expressed in this review are my own and was not influenced by the author, publisher or any third party.***
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A great book for stimulating deep thought and discussion or debate concerning the current state of healthcare. Scenarios are presented that echo real situations and are followed by many questions that arise from the issues.  The thought=process of the decision makers and the consequences of the choices are spelled out after each scenario. I learned so much about medical and legal ramifications in healthcare from this book. The author put forth questions that added to my knowledge because those ideas hadn't occurred to me. It has inspired me to look into some of the issues that apply to me for further clarification of my decisions. I have recommended the book to others for general reading and will suggest it to ethics and healthcare instructors.
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An interesting format: each chapter has a brief (fictional) scenario--such as a domestic abuse victim asking a doctor to remove injury information from the electronic medical record because her abuser has friends who work at the hospital and the information might get back to him--and a "reflection" on the ethical dilemma presented by the scenario.

I was expecting more of an in-depth exploration of moral and ethical issues in medicine, which this is not, but this book has several dozen interesting topics for thought and discussion. It's reminiscent of a dinner party icebreaker books, with various questions to get guests talking, and could be used similarly in a classroom or even a business setting.
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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. Some typographical/print issues I had in my arc:
Loc 556 - "scares" should be "scarce" (how to allocate scarce organs)
Loc 757 - Tex needs a liver but this page says "Should Tex be able to 'jump the line' and solicit a heart in this way?" It should state liver, not heart.
Loc 1221 - Missing particle "In scenario"
Loc 1889 - "[Italics added]" But I didn't see italics in my ARC
Loc 1937 - Missing quotation mark, "We certainly don't tell them that they are going to die"
Loc 2119 - "Copenhagenbased" needs to be separated with a dash
Loc 2624 - Headline not capitalized, "cry, baby's corpse mistakenly buried with twins"
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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 schools and his work as a practising psychiatrist, this innovative book asks readers, when faced with complex, unsettling scenarios readers, 

What would you do? 
- Is it ethical for an insured woman to pose as her uninsured twin in order to obtain life-saving medical attention for her? 
- A couple wants a deaf baby and is willing to pursue this via medical technology but should this be allowed?; 
- A young man wants to donate a kidney to his father, but a tissue match reveals that he is actually not the biological son. Should this information be revealed to either father or son?; 
- A mentally disabled man says no to a medical procedure that could save the life of his brother. Should he be forced?

Some cases are pulled from today’s headlines, others loosely based on cases reported in professional journals. A few, painstakingly disguised, come from the author’s own clinical encounters.  Every scenario is followed by a brief reflection of how various modern thought leaders (ethicists, philosophers, courts, political commentators, research scientists and medical professionals) have addressed the underlying issues.

In a society in which much of the public views many hot button ethical issues in stark, black and white terms, the scenarios in Who Says You're Dead? are designed to defy easy answers and to stimulate thought. It’s impossible to read just one.

This was a fascinating read: a bit salacious, a bit scandalous, a bit "WTF" and worth a million conversations with family, friends or book clubs over what one can do and should be allowed to do. Each chapter was a story into itself (my husband who works in an emergency room is now reading it and I am sure that our upcoming 18hour  each way drive / road trip will be peppered with conversations about the stories in this book.  

The stories presented were factual yet fascinating to the average reader and this would be a great book club pick as Dr. Appel's writing is appealing to everyone with a pulse or a family or medical issues.  So, everyone would and could and should enjoy this book. He has actually written a number of books o medical ethics that I look forward to reading on my own time (I ordered copies of them from Amazon last night): I am now hooked on his books!!!

As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by Millenials on Instagram and Twitter) so let's give it, to keep the doctor away, 🍎🍎🍎🍎🍎
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