Terrible Gift by Rick J. Carlson

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A provocative, cautionary exploration of the onrushing revolution in health care: its science-fiction benefits, its hidden dangers, and the disturbing choices it will force us all to make. The mapping of the human genome and other biological breakthroughs will have startling practical implications for every one of us. In the past, the physician's art has been devoted to making sick people well. The medicine of the future will be far better at curing illness, but it will also be increasingly dedicated to making well people better-sexier, happier, prettier, smarter-and to generating incredible profits for its practitioners and their corporate sponsors. Some fruits of the new genetic medicine will be unmixed blessings; others imply a chilling redefinition of what it means to be human. And all will impose enormous costs on society. Social and economic inequality will worsen as the medical haves outperform, outcompete, and outlive the have-nots. The profit imperative will foster ever-costlier biological upgrades in place of safer, simpler, natural alternatives.
Through patents and commercialization of research, a handful of corporations will come to control huge swaths of the human genome. And health care costs will continue to grow.The Terrible Gift is an essential primer to the crucial choices we already face as both citizens and consumers of health care.

About Rick J. Carlson

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Stimeling is a free-lance writer specializing in topics related to medicine, health care, and the psychology of healing.
Published April 1, 2002 by PublicAffairs. 320 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Professional & Technical, Science & Math, Health, Fitness & Dieting. Non-fiction

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Health-care consultant Carlson (The End of Medicine) and writer Stimeling (coauthor of The Body Electric) offer an assessment of biotechnology's promise and peril, with emphasis on the peril.

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The book raises some relevant questions about genetic medicine and the U.S. health care system as well: if the U.S. system of care is built around a treatment-oriented model of care versus a preventive model of care, how will genetic medicine—an inherently preventive form of care—make a good fit?

Sep 25 2002 | Read Full Review of Terrible Gift

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