Hardback
December 17, 2019
9781421433332
English
352
118203
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1.35 Pounds (US)
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December 17, 2019
9781421433349
9781421433332
English
352
118203
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$39.95 USD, £29.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

The Medicalization of Birth and Death

In 1900, most Americans gave birth and died at home, with minimal medical intervention. By contrast, most Americans today begin and end their lives in hospitals. The medicalization we now see is due in large part to federal and state policies that draw patients away from community-based providers, such as birth centers and hospice care, and toward the most intensive and costliest kinds of care. But the evidence suggests that birthing and dying people receive too much—even harmful—medical intervention.

In The Medicalization of Birth and Death, political scientist Lauren K. Hall describes how and why birth and death became medicalized events. While hospitalization provides certain benefits, she acknowledges, it also creates harms, limiting patient autonomy, driving up costs, and causing a cascade of interventions, many with serious side effects. Tracing the regulatory, legal, and financial policies that centralize care during birth and death, Hall argues that medicalization reduces competition, stifles innovation, and prevents individuals from accessing the most appropriate care during their most vulnerable moments. She also examines the profound implications of policy-enforced medicalization on informed consent and shows how medicalization challenges the healthcare community's most foundational ethical commitments.

Drawing on interviews with medical and nonmedical healthcare providers, as well as surveys of patients and their families, Hall provides a broad overview of the costs, benefits, and origins of medicalized birth and death. The Medicalization of Birth and Death is required reading for academics, patients, providers, policymakers, and anyone else interested in how policy shapes healthcare options and limits patients and providers during life's most profound moments.

About the Author

Lauren K. Hall is an associate professor of political science at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She is the author of Family and the Politics of Moderation: Private Life, Public Goods, and the Rebirth of Social Individualism.

Endorsements

"This well-researched, well-argued book touches on almost every American's experience, and it can provide insights to both scholars and educated readers looking for answers."

- Laurette T. Liesen, Lewis University

"Americans know that over the years, US healthcare has become sick: it doesn't treat patients well. Symptoms begin with the experience of mothers and babies at birth and end with the way we treat our dying. Lauren Hall brilliantly explains the problems and their causes, and prescribes treatment."

- Earl L. Grinols, Baylor University, coauthor of Health Care for Us All: Getting More for Our Investment

"Lauren Hall draws on historical evidence and political theory to provide a compelling analysis of how well-intended policy goes awry. She develops an outline of how American healthcare could be restructured so patients can regain control over their own experiences of birth and death."

- James Stacey Taylor, The College of New Jersey, editor of The Metaphysics and Ethics of Death: New Essays

"A gripping and scholarly account of how we lost control of two defining points in our lives and how we can get out of this medicalized quagmire. Highly recommended for health scholars and anyone who wants some insight into the tangled web of healthcare that ensnares baby and grandparent alike."

- Fabio Rojas, Indiana University, Bloomington, editor of Contexts

"In this compassionate analysis of the American healthcare system, Hall not only makes a compelling case for greater deference to patients and less medicalization, she also describes concrete reforms that would give patients a voice during some of the most important moments of their lives."

- Jessica Flanigan, University of Richmond, author of Pharmaceutical Freedom: Why Patients Have a Right to Self-Medicate

"Hall employs an interdisciplinary approach to examine the medicalization of life in America. She explores how our society remade birth and death from intimate, personal experiences. Scholars working in politics and history of medicine will learn a good deal."

- Christy Ford Chapin, University of Maryland Baltimore County, author of Ensuring America's Health: The Public Creation of the Corporate Health Care System
Johns Hopkins University Press
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9781421433332 : the-medicalization-of-birth-and-death-hall
Hardback
352 Pages
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352 Pages
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