Clinical Ethics, Living and Dying: New Challenges for Changing Times.

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      This article focuses on clinical ethics. Social workers help people make decisions about life and death. At the very edges of the most basic and painful aspects of human life, such work is increasingly complicated--the lines distinguishing life and death and the morality with which people treat both seem to blur with every new technological advance. The author says that he attended a presentation at a local medical school on the growing disparity in infant mortality rates between black and white Americans. Only 40 percent of the seats were filed. The speaker, James Collins, an African American obstetrician from Northwestern University, pointed out that the mortality rate among black infants is still two to 2.5 times higher than among white infants, despite some 20 years of public health efforts and mortality improvements. Later the author attended a continuing education workshop on dying and bereavement. The author says that many people are uncomfortable with death, and for many the dying process is a peculiarly repressed phenomenon. Dying in the United States probably will change even more in the next decade.