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Professor Barry Furrow Contributes Two Chapters to New Books

Professor Barry Furrow directs the Health Law program

November 04, 2019

Professor Barry Furrow authored a chapter in two recently published books: “Embodied Difference: Divergent Bodies in Public Discourse” and “Transparency in Health and Health Care in the United States: Law and Ethics.”

The first book, edited by Jamie A. Thomas and Christina Jackson, is an interdisciplinary collection focused on our bodies as sites of agency, oppression and knowledge production. It covers diverse topics from the physical (“skeletons, pageant stages, gentrifying neighborhoods”) to the philosophical (“morality, genocide, physician-assisted suicide, cryonic preservation, transfeminism”) and the discursive (“medical textbooks, legal battles, dance pedagogy, vampire narratives”).

Furrow’s chapter, “Death and the Power of the Young Female Body: Iconic Legal Cases,” examines several cases that have raised legal issues about when to stop the treatment of a vegetative, brain-dead or terminally ill patient. Specifically, he focuses on cases involving young women, and how their stories become media fodder, or how their treatment differs based on race.

The second book—edited by Holly Fernandez Lynch, I. Glenn Cohen, Carmel Shachar and Barbara J. Evans—serves “to better articulate the role that transparency can play in the American health-care landscape,” as it has been frequently lauded as a solution to the many problems plaguing that system.

In his chapter, “Smashing into windows: 'the limits of consumer sovereignty in health care,’” Furrow identifies barriers that stand in the way of improving medical decision-making through transparency. These barriers include “physician control over the information, hospital circumvention of consent rules, and patient irrationality.” He believes that many of these barriers can be overcome by technological improvements but cautions that the costs of such tools should be considered carefully.

The director of the law school’s Health Law program, Furrow is lead author of the treatise, “Health Law,” which has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court three times and is now in its eighth edition. He was also ranked #10 on the “20 Most-Cited Law Faculty” list published by Harvard Law School’s Petrie-Flom Center in 2018, based on scholarly citations of his work between 2013 and 2017. He has written dozens of law review articles on a wide array of health-related topics, including health care policy, regulation and finance, patient safety, patient privacy, mental health, provider accountability, medical ethics, bioethics and legal issues of pain management.