Legalized Physician-Assisted Suicide: A Disaster for Medicine

ttp_logo_blu_300Dr. Toffler – Since the voters of Oregon (USA) narrowly legalized physician-assisted suicide 20 years ago, there has been a profound shift in attitude toward medical care—new fear and secrecy, and a fixation on death. Well over 850 people have taken their lives by ingesting massive overdoses of barbiturates prescribed under the law. Proponents claim the system is working well with no problems. This is not true. As a professor of family medicine at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, as well as a licensed physician for 35 years, I have seen firsthand how the law has changed the relationship between doctors and patients, some of whom now fear that they are being steered toward assisted suicide.

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Transfer of Care vs. Referral: A Crucial Moral Distinction

 

USCCB-1020x1024Catholics working in the field of health care increasingly encounter conflicts between living out their religious convictions in good conscience and submitting to the immoral demands of patients, employers, or even the state. Requests for abortion, contraceptive drugs and devices, surgical sterilization, physician-assisted suicide, withdrawal or withholding of ordinary and proportionate treatments or basic human care, or other immoral procedures cannot be followed. This is clearly articulated in more than one directive of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, 5th ed. (Washington, D.C.: USCCB, 2009).

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Three-Parent Embryo Research Detrimental for Women, the Unborn and Society

On the 15th of May Dr. Marie T. Hilliard, NCBC Director of Bioethics and Public Policy and registered nurse (photo), shared her clinical and bioethical expertise in providing public testimony to the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Hilliard explained how detrimental the current research is to women, the unborn, and society. Though the purpose of the research, purportedly, is to prevent mitochondrial disease, in reality it is focused on a eugenics that destroy less than perfect human life.

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The Banking of Sperm and Eggs before Cancer Treatments

Sperm-20051108Both chemotherapy and radiation can affect sexual organs and how they work. The American Cancer Society addresses the potential effects on male fertility this way: “Chemo may lower the number of sperm cells, reduce their ability to move, or cause other changes… Because permanent
sterility (infertility) may occur, it’s important to discuss this issue with your doctor BEFORE you start chemo. You might want to think about banking your sperm for future use.” Various moral concerns arise in the wake of the proposal to freeze reproductive cells like eggs or sperm…

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Father Tad Pacholczyk, Director of Education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC), is the author of a column called Making Sense of Bioethics that appears in various diocesan newspapers across the United States of America. For an overview of his columns: click here.

Catholic Moral Teaching and Theology of the Body

In a 30 minutes talk, Dr. Peter J. Colosi, Associate Professor of Moral Theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia, PA, paints a picture of the cultural situation, explaining the meaning of Pope Emeritus Benecit XVI’s phrase “the tyranny of relativism.” He shows how it differs from but also follows directly on the heels of basic relativism, illustrating the point with striking current examples in the US. He then outlines connections between all of this and the reason to study and interiorize John Paul II’s Theology of Body. He also touches on questions of Christian witness in the public sphere and true and false meanings of the phrase “separation of Church and State.”

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Ethical and Missionary Formation of Medical Students in Kerala, India

Mathew-Abraham-CSSR
Mathew-Abraham-CSSR

According to the Medical Council of India (MCI), there are 412 medical colleges with 49,840 seats every year (July 28, 2015). In other words, at any given point of time, nearly 0.25 million medical students are studying in the medical college campuses of India. Unlike in the west, in India, along with issues related to poverty, there are multiple languages, religions, and cultures. In spite of all the technological advances, there are still lots of people who do not have access to even essential healthcare, in India. Therefore, in addition to ethical practice of medicine, students and doctors need to be sensitized on the need for distributive justice in healthcare. It is easier to foster these values when they are young, especially during their medical education period. St John’s Medical College, Bangalore, under the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) and CMC Vellore, under the Protestant network, give some amount of training for their medical students on ethical practice and missionary commitment. Most of the other medical colleges in India do not give much attention for the ethical formation of the students.

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