Three Ways of Looking at a Health Law and Literature Class




Bard, Jennifer S.

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Drexel Law Review


The authors of this Article participated in a panel at the American Society of Law, Ethics & Medicine Conference in 2008 that discussed the use of literary materials in law school to teach medical ethics (and related matters) in a law school setting. Each author comes at the topic from a different perspective based on his or her own experience and background. This Article and the panel on which it was based reflect views on how literature can play a valuable role in helping law students, as well as medical students, understand important legal and ethical issues and concepts in health law and bioethics.

In Part I, Stacey Tovino introduces the parallel fields of “literature and medicine” and “law and literature” and identifies several common approaches to the use of literature, literary non-fiction, and illness narratives in medical and law school curricula. Tovino places current coursework in Law, Literature, and Medicine in its proper historical and pedagogical context.

In Part II, Tom Mayo describes the Law, Literature, and Medicine seminar he offers to third-year law students at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law and fourth-year medical students at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. Mayo examines the features of his course that make it effective, suggests literature that may be used by health law professors who do not have the opportunity to teach a seminar devoted to literature, and comments on the ongoing medical humanities debate.

In Part III, Jennifer Bard describes the Law, Medicine, and Literature course she offered for the first time at Texas Tech University School of Law during the Spring 2008 semester. Bard examines the texts and films she assigned to build a working knowledge of medicine and science and the literature she selected to immerse her students in medico-legal situations with which they were unfamiliar.



Literature, Health law, Bioethics


1 Drexel L. Rev. 512