Doctors on the Edge

Doctors on the Edge

Will Your Doctor Break the Rules For You?

Fredrick R. Abrams, MD

Doctors on the Edge is the account of doctors who are faced by wrenching moral dilemmas, uninvited and unexpected dilemmas that are thrust upon them.


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This book exposes some of the hardest decisions to be made in a profession in which people's bodies and souls are laid bare. Doctors on the Edge is the account of doctors who are faced by wrenching moral dilemmas, uninvited and unexpected dilemmas that are thrust upon them. Law, medicine, and morality-sometimes complementary and sometimes conflicting-intrude on the daily practice of medicine. In gripping stories that often including life-and-death decisions, doctors maneuver the ambiguities, subjectivity, and essential principles of medical ethics.

Each chapter is a true account of physicians who lied, betrayed confidences, or broke the law to bring about what they believed was best for their patients.

Fredrick R. Abrams is a Denver physician who specialized in obstetrics and gynecology for over forty years and served as chair of the Ethics Committee of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. In his own medical practice, the author has encountered many of the situations in the book.


Praise for Doctors on the Edge


Marvelous – a truly wonderful book! Fred Abrams organizes the stories in a way that gives information while it builds suspense, and he chooses a riveting group of people to write about. I can't tell you how engrossed I was in story after story – I have been less interested and compelled by many good novels. I began to see how much time a doctor who cares, like Fred Abrams, must spend in providing for the needs of patients. He has enriched us all.

—Richard Lamm, former Governor of Colorado

These stories vividly reveal how medical work is saturated with moral questions and how a conscientious doctor, engaging with patients, tries to answer them: not with theory but with ethical insight and responsible advice.

—Albert R. Jonsen, author of The Birth of Bioethics

Step aside John Grisham and Robin Cook! With an artistic skill exceeding popular novelists, Fredrick R. Abrams, M.D. illustrates the mysterious truth that life is more surprising than fiction. Prioritizing patients over rigid rules, Abrams probes critical medical dilemmas, encouraging doctors to struggle with the ambiguities of humane health care in the 21st century. Doctors on the Edge pushes readers and practitioners beyond knee-jerk reactive moral judgments to reflective ethical decision-making.

—Donald E. Messer, Executive Director, Center for the Church and Global AIDS

Dr. Abrams’s stories chronicle the dilemmas faced by literally thousands within the medical system each year. This book illuminates the shades of gray and complex choices we may all face someday.

—Bev Sloan, CEO, Hospice of Metro Denver

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Doctors on the Edge. I never knew a bioethics book could be a real page turner, but this was! Dr. Abrams uses captivating stories to reveal the true human side of illness, disease and medicine – the joys, fears, suffering, intimacy and elation wrapped together in life’s most profound moments. These stories also portray the wisdom and compassion of a talented and, at times, heroic physician, the kind of physician we should all be so lucky to encounter in our times of illness. Finally, these stories illustrate wonderfully the value and moral centrality of shared decision-making between patient and physician in today’s complex health care.

—Mark Yarborough, University of Colorado, The Center for Bioethics and Humanities

Dr. Abrams has penned an authoritative, thoughtful, and fascinating book exploring ethical dilemmas for which there are no easy answers. Combining a wealth of ethical, medical, legal, historical, and philosophical information, this articulate book is a must-read for healthcare professionals or those interested in grappling with difficult situations through the eyes of a seasoned physician.

—Cordt T. Kassner, Executive Director, Colorado Hospice Organization

Lewis Thomas and Richard Seltzer are two physicians who have been able to write about their profession in ways that illuminate the practice of medicine. Dr. Abrams has accomplished the same wonder in his book.

—Margaret Maupin, The Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver

Additional information

Product Format


Page Count

202 pages


6 x 9 in.