"The Patient as Person" by Paul Ramsey

The Patient as Person Explorations in Medical Ethics Paul Ramsey, Margaret A. Farley, Albert R. Jonsen, Mr. William F. May, Marcia R. Wood

The Institution for Social and Policy Studies
Publication date:
01 May 2002
342 pages: 229 x 152 x 19mm
black & white illustrations

As physicians are faced with new and wonderful options for saving lives, transplanting organs, and furthering research, they also must wrestle with new and troubling choices-who should receive scarce and vital treatment, how we determine when life ends, what limits should be placed on care for the dying, and more. This book by renowned theologian Paul Ramsey, first published thirty years ago, anticipated these moral and ethical issues and addressed them with cogency and power, providing the intellectual foundations for the field of bioethics. This second edition of Ramsey's classic work includes a new foreword by Margaret Farley and essays by Albert R. Jonsen and William F. May that help to locate and interpret Ramsey historically and intellectually.

The late Paul Ramsey was Harrington Spear Pain Professor of Religion at Princeton University and the author of many books, among them Basic Christian Ethics, Fabricated Man, and Ethics at the Edges of Life.

?For its strong, well-argued positions, its documentation and references, and its assistance in bringing confused strands of thought into focus, The Patient as Person will be used for many years.??Michael Novak, New York Times 

?Amid the plethora of books on medical ethics that merely skim the surface, this one solidly examines most aspects of the question??from the definition of death to organ transplantation.??Christianity Today 

?Notable for its clear moral reasoning and its thorough examination of all morally relevant issues.??Journal of Religion 

?[Ramsey?s] study is a masterpiece of thoroughness in evaluating conflicting moral claims which become explicit in crucial medical situations.??Dolores Dooley-Clarke, Philosophical Studies 

?The Patient as Person [is] by any standard one of the truly influential works in bioethics. . . . It is very readable and still highly relevant. There are chapters discussing the ethics of human experimentation, the determination of death, the donation of organs for transplant from both living donors and cadavers, and the allocation of scarce resources. On all these subjects Ramsey continues to be well worth reading. The third chapter, ?On (Only) Caring for the Dying,? is, I think, Ramsey at his very best and remains one of the classic essays in the field of bioethics.??Gilbert Meilaender, The Weekly Standard

"The Patient as Person deserves to be read, reread, and read again today, as a forceful reminder that physicians have loyalties to their patients that are far more compelling than their schedules or reimbursement schemes, that the promise of research or ambitions of researchers must never be allowed to override the health and safety of patients, and that all of us must come to terms with the inevitability of death. For physicians who are frustrated, burned out, or cynical, this book may provide moral grounding for a renewed commitment to their patients? wellbeing. For researchers and health-care administrators, Ramsey delineates the moral bottom line: the care of the patient is paramount. . . . At a time when respect for patients as people seems at risk of disappearing entirely, Ramsey?s exhortation may be just what we need."?Mary Terrell White, Lancet

"This work should be required reading for all medical students; and physicians; and moralists. The student would become aware of the implications of his future daily bedside decisions; the physician would review his perhaps automatic responses to 'routine' bedside dilemmas; the moralist would become aware that there are bedsides and patients and pain and painful death."?Catholic World

"For its strong well-argued positions, its documentation and references, and its assistance in bringing confused strands of thought into focus, The Patient as Person will be used as a basic text for many years."?New York Times Book Review

"Professor Ramsey's clinical insight, thorough research, precise analysis, and theological motif place his book among the more important ones on medical ethics."?Religion in Life

"The Patient as Person brings out the basic issues involved in the ethics of death, and it is written in an interesting and probing style. I rate it high and strongly recommend it."?Dean Turner, Christian Century

"I am obviously enthusiastic about [Ramsey's] book and hope that medical men will take the time to ponder the principles presented. It is an absolute necessity for anyone interested in medical ethics, regardless of his position."?Robert C. Baumiller, S. J., Theological Studies

"As a whole, the book will be valuable to both social scientists and health professionals. For medical people, it provides a structure for honest soul-searching. For social scientists, it is a good resource document on medical ethics and some chapters, such as the one on experimentation, speak to issues we face ourselves."?Social Science and Medicine