Medical Ethics and the Faith Factor: A Handbook for Clergy and Health-Care Professionals

Medical Ethics and the Faith Factor: A Handbook for Clergy and Health-Care Professionals

Medical Ethics and the Faith Factor: A Handbook for Clergy and Health-Care Professionals

Medical Ethics and the Faith Factor: A Handbook for Clergy and Health-Care Professionals

Synopsis

Clinical ethics is a relatively new discipline within medicine, generated not so much by the "Can we. . . ?" questions of fact and prognosis that physicians usually address, but primarily by the more uncomfortable gray areas having to do with "Should we. . . ?" questions:

Should we use a feeding tube for Mom?
How should we deal with our baby about to be born with life-threatening anomalies?
Should our son be taken off dialysis, even though he'll die without it?
What should we do with our mentally ill sister, who has proven that she is untreatable?

In this book Robert Orr draws on his extensive medical knowledge and experience to offer a wealth of guidance regarding real-life dilemmas in clinical ethics. Replete with instructive case studies, Medical Ethics and the Faith Factor is an invaluable resource that reintroduces the human element to a discussion so often detached from the very people it claims to concern.

Excerpt

Chaplains, pastors, priests, rabbis, and other people of faith, along with health-care professionals, frequently interact with individuals and families who are facing life-threatening illness, chronic illness, or disability. the conversations stimulated by such life events and conditions may include crucial questions of faith, God’s will, the meaning of life and death, and eternity. Many believers are prepared for and comfortable with such discussions.

However, these conversations often include questions that make clergy and other people of faith distinctly uncomfortable — questions they are not typically prepared to answer. Such as: “Should we use a feeding tube for Mom?” “Is it ok if I stop dialysis and die?” “What should we do for our baby who is about to be born with life-threatening anomalies?” “Dear God, what should we do?”

These questions of ethics are usually first posed to physicians and other health-care professionals. Physicians are usually able to address the “Can we?” questions, which are generally questions of fact, laced significantly with matters of experience and training, often focused on the fine art of prognosis. But the “Can we?” questions are often insufficient, and answers to these questions are often inadequate.

Increasingly we must address the “Should we?” questions. Just because we can use a ventilator to postpone death for a few more hours or days in a man dying of lung cancer, should we? Are there other considerations — patient comfort, social interactions, spiritual matters — that might help to answer the various questions? Not infrequently different individuals answer the “Should we?” questions differently, based on their own experience or values. Health-care professionals are increasingly encouraging patients . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.