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The Eye Begins to See

Title: The Eye Begins to See
Subject Classification: Medicine and Medical Ethics, History, Humanities, Literature and Literary Criticism, War and Conflict
BIC Classification: MBDC, MBX, JPFQ
BISAC Classification: MED039000, MED050000, HIS043000
Binding: Hardback, Paperback, ebook, pp.265
Publication date: 8th January 2023
ISBN (Print): 978-1-80441-109-4
ISBN (Print): 978-1-80441-178-0
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-80441-110-0


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What makes healers become killers? Inspired by the life of Dr. Leo Alexander, a principal author of the Nuremberg Code, The Eye Begins to See delivers a compelling story of historical insight and psychological intrigue. In 1946 Leo Alexander, Viennese psychiatrist and Jewish refugee, returns to Europe to serve as chief medical counsel to the American prosecution at the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial. There he confronts Karl Brandt, Hitler’s chief physician, who has been accused of medical war crimes. Alexander’s attempt to understand the psychology of Brandt, and the other Nazi doctors on the docket, shakes him to the core, forcing him to question everything he knows about his scientific principles, ethics, and personal identity. Ultimately he recognizes the need for a universally accepted code of medical ethics in human subject research, leading him to become an author of the Nuremberg Code.

This unique book tells the story of Leo Alexander and the genesis of the Nuremberg Code through a blend of historical fact and the imagination. Readers learn about the origins of the system of ethics guiding our current research with human subjects, why medical ethics are so necessary, and the challenges in creating and implementing them. In recent years there has been an explosion of interest in the medical profession in the medical humanities. Educators are actively searching for ways to incorporate art and literature in medical training. The Eye Begins to See is an excellent vehicle for a creative approach to teaching medical ethics and humanism.


Author: Dr Lauren Small is Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA


"The Nazi doctors’ trial is rightly remembered for the judges' ten rules for the ethical conduct of human experiments, known as the Nuremberg Code.  Lauren Small compellingly and elegantly imagines the remarkable characters and the drama of ideas behind the scenes."

- Dr. Jonathan Moreno, David and Lyn Silfren University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, USA

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