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Surgically Shaping Children Technology, Ethics, and the Pursuit of Normality by Erik Parens
  

Surgically Shaping Children Technology, Ethics, and the Pursuit of Normality

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Synopsis

Surgically Shaping Children Technology, Ethics, and the Pursuit of Normality by Erik Parens

At a time when medical technologies make it ever easier to enhance our minds and bodies, a debate has arisen about whether such efforts promote a process of normalization, which makes it ever harder to tolerate the natural anatomical differences among us. The debate becomes especially complicated when it addresses the surgical alteration, or shaping, of children. This volume explores the ethical and social issues raised by the recent proliferation of surgeries designed to make children born with physical differences look more normal.Using three cases-surgeries to eliminate craniofacial abnormalities such as cleft lip and palate, surgeries to correct ambiguous genitalia, and surgeries to lengthen the limbs of children born with dwarfism-the contributors consider the tensions parents experience when making such life-altering decisions on behalf of or with their children.The essays in this volume offer in-depth examinations of the significance and limits of surgical alteration through personal narratives, theoretical reflections, and concrete suggestions about how to improve the decision-making process. Written from the perspectives of affected children and their parents, health care providers, and leading scholars in philosophy, sociology, history, law, and medicine, this collection provides an integrated and comprehensive foundation from which to consider a complex and controversial issue. It takes the reader on a journey from reflections on the particulars of current medical practices to reflections on one of the deepest and most complex of human desires: the desire for normality.ContributorsPriscilla Alderson, Adrienne Asch, Cassandra Aspinall, Alice Domurat Dreger, James C. Edwards, Todd C. Edwards, Ellen K. Feder, Arthur W. Frank, Lisa Abelow Hedley, Eva Fedder Kittay, Hilde Lindemann, Jeffery L. Marsh, Paul Steven Miller, Sherri G. Morris, Wendy E. Mouradian, Donald L. Patrick, Nichola Rumsey, Emily Sullivan Sanford, Tari D. Topolski

Reviews

Notably, the contributors are parents, adults born with these conditions, clinicians, and ethicists. As such, Surgically Shaping Children provides a unique multidisciplinary examination of the issues raised. -- Alexander A. Kon, MD * JAMA * This compilation of essays edited by Erik Parens is vitally important... Provides an amazing wealth of practical advice... All the chapters are well written and engaging... Parents facing grueling decisions about surgical interventions for their children will find great solace in this book. * New England Journal of Medicine * What I most liked about Surgically Shaping Children was the way it drew me into an ongoing conversation that exposed, interrogated, and rearticulated my common sense views on normality and the role of medicine in normalizing the differently embodied. -- Kathy Davis * Hastings Center Report * An important book for the questions it puts forth. * Medical Humanities Review * A rich and fruitful diversity of perspectives, opinions, and styles. -- Henri Wijsbek * Perspectives in Biology and Medicine *


About the Author

Erik Parens is a senior research scholar at The Hastings Center, a visiting professor in the Science, Technology, and Society Program at Sarah Lawrence College, and the coeditor of Wrestling with Behavioral Genetics: Science, Ethics, and Public Conversation (Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2005). He is also editor of Enhancing Human Traits: Ethical and Social Implications (Georgetown Univ. Press, 1998) and Prenatal Testing and Disability Rights (Georgetown Univ.Press, 2000).

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd September 2008

Author

Erik Parens

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Publisher

Johns Hopkins University Press

Format

Paperback
304 pages

Categories

Plastic & reconstructive surgery
Paediatric medicine

ISBN

9780801890901

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