The Making of the Unborn Patient: A Social Anatomy of Fetal Surgery

Front Cover
Rutgers University Press, 1998 - Medical - 267 pages
Winner of the 1998 C. Wright Mills Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems

It is now possible for physicians to recognize that a pregnant woman's fetus is facing life-threatening problems, perform surgery on the fetus, and if it survives, return it to the woman's uterus to finish gestation. Although fetal surgery has existed in various forms for three decades, it is only just beginning to capture the public's imagination. These still largely experimental procedures raise all types of medical, political and ethical questions. Who is the patient? What are the technical difficulties involved in fetal surgery? How do reproductive politics seep into the operating room, and how do medical definitions and meanings flow out of medicine and into other social spheres? How are ethical issues defined in this practice and who defines them? Is fetal surgery the kind of medicine we want? What is involved in reframing fetal surgery as a women's health issue, rather than simply a pediatric concern? In this ethnographic study of the social, cultural and historical aspects of fetal surgery, Monica Casper addresses these questions. The Making of the Unborn Patient examines two important and connected events of the second half of the 20th century: the emergence of fetal surgery as a new medical specialty and the debut of the unborn patient.

 

Contents

Chapter 2
26
Chapter 6
27
Chapter 3
73
Chapter 4
106
Chapter 5
128
Pregnant Women on the Final Frontier
168
Chapter 7
204
Notes
227
Glossary
241
Bibliography
245
Index
261
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