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athgarvan

There is no good medicine without ethics!

There is a great activity going on in Ireland at present in an effort to get the Church out of any form of public life, schools, hospitals, law, politics etc. The Sisters of Charity have had hospitals - both private and public on one site in Dublin for many years. The Government wanted to add a maternity hospital on the same site but the Sisters were afraid of a change  ethos this might bring with it.

The Sisters have finally decided to quit their hospitals alltogether. But society still needs to decide what kind of ethos will govern these hospitals. Should the ethos be one that allows doctors to kill the unborn, the old and the infirm in certain circumstances or not? An ethic that allows doctors to kill is a corruption of real medicine.

What is the best kind of medical ethics? There is no medicine without ethics. Hospitals don’t need to be under church or religious influence but they cannot exist without an ethos.

Medicine has three main purposes: to prevent and cure diseases, and to take care of patients. There is an intrinsic good (health) that we discover through science and we preserve and re-establish through practice.This understanding of medicine doesn’t require a particular religious faith but it is nonetheless intrinsically ethical. It is inspired by a certain conception of the good (health) that we find in human nature through the correct use of reason. The principle of “do not harm”, which has guided health care since ancient times, has the form of an ethical imperative.

Not everything that happens in a hospital or a clinic is medicine. Not all interventions that alter our bodies surgically or chemically are medicine. Getting your facial features surgically changed to look more like your music idol is not medicine. Killing the unborn because he/she was unplanned or is disabled is not medicine. Augmenting your muscles through drugs to win a weightlifting contest is not medicine. Facilitating suicide is not medicine.

There is no good medicine without ethics. Hospitals don’t need to be under church or religious influence but they cannot exist without an ethos, without values. When their core value is not health – an intrinsic good indicated by human nature- they don’t serve medicine anymore but trends, ideologies, business.



Comments

the area i lived in in New Jersey was once served by three hospitals
one was catholic - two had no religious connection
over a period of time, the catholic hospital bought out the other two
now al three hospitals were under catholic auspice and followed catholic rules

my GYN doctor was denied privileges - not because he did abortions but because he did tubal ligations - "birth control"

rape victims were taken to these hospitals because they were the hospitals within the police jurisdictions - they were not provided with the information and medication to protect them from pregnancy and venereal disease
it took legal action to provide these services the women were legally entitled to

doctors are to care for the patients health
any procedure which alters or threatens the patients health and wellbeing is their concern and responsibility
surgery for whatever reason is a medical procedure
termination of a pregnancy is legal and is a medical procedure
end of life decisions should be made with medical help

whether a particular religious denomination approves or not does not alter the medical nature of these situations
the individual doctor needs to balance his faith belief with his medical responsibility

a hospital should serve all people and accept and accommodate the individual's belief and choices
to insist that the individual conform to the religious belief of the institution is forced conversion
it would seem illegal from a USA point of view
What ethical code should any hospital follow?
Surely face-lifts are not a 'medical' procedure just because done by a surgeon.
the doctor's ethic is first
above all do no harm
harm to the patient who consults him/her

a "face lift" for whatever reason - and facial reconstruction can be very serious - involves anesthesia, surgical intervention, the risk of infection and i'm sure more
the patient entrusts his wellbeing to his doctor
the doctor has a sacred responsibility to the patient

why is that relationship and procedure any less serious than heart surgery?
the patient is entrusting his life and wellbeing in the skill of the doctor in both cases

the hospital must ensure the safe procedure and proper care of the patient
the hospital is a facility at the service of the doctors and staff to serve the needs of the patient
Ethics are vital in medicine.