Academic journal article The Hastings Center Report

At the Center

Academic journal article The Hastings Center Report

At the Center

Article excerpt

Emily Sarah Aberle Murray. Sometimes--often in fact--the Center is a very quiet place, a refuge from the practical tumult of hospitals and health policy, land use and biotechnology, a place where energetic reflection is our primary activity. The Center is also a small community unto itself; what affects one affects all.

Sometimes the world breaks through our tranquillity, up close and personal. It may be the happy news that a staff member expects her first child this spring, or the troubling news that two others among us are undergoing chemotherapy--just as we gather to think through the relationship between patient and physician in cancer care. (Both doing well, thank you.)

This autumn, it was the shattering news first of a daughter's disappearance, then of her murder. As the sunlight thinned with the steady descent into winter, we each and all fretted with Tom and Cynthia about Emily, missing from her college campus in Ohio, out of touch with family and friends for days that stretched to weeks. Little we could do but attend to our responsibilities, keep the Center running, try to share some administrative burdens among the many always clamoring for Tom's attention. Worry took up residence at the Center, a presence on the stairs, a silent party to even the most casual conversations.

In Center tradition, Emily had worked among us one summer, two years ago. …

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