Monday, July 9, 2007

Ethics 101

Yesterday morning I spent some time in the OSF-SFMC medical library catching up on some journals. The library is a quiet peaceful place on Sunday mornings.

One of the new books on display in the library is “Ethics of Health Care” by Benedict M. Ashley, O.P. and Kevin D. O’Rourke, O.P. It is an introductory textbook regarding Catholic ethics in the health care field.

On the first page of the Introduction, the authors state that the Catholic tradition in ethics or morality has something important to contribute to the dialogue regarding “health care ethics”. Interestingly, the authors also state that the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Facilities (National Conference of Catholic Bishops 2001) is the main compendium of Catholic teaching for Catholic health care institutions and professionals in the United States.

I do not believe that OSF-SFMC has followed the Ethical and Religious Directives(ERD) established by the U.S. Catholic Bishops. Yet, this book on Catholic health care ethics is based on the ERD and is prominently displayed in the OSF-SFMC library. There seems to be a gap between theory on quiet Sunday mornings and reality during the week at the very busy Catholic medical center in Peoria.

Haitian children are being ignored by OSF-SFMC and they are dying slow painful deaths from reversible cardiac problems.

Regarding Principles of Christian Love, “Ethics of Health Care” state:

“The principles of love related to health care are threefold: (1) Every person must be valued as a unique, irreplaceable member of the human community (the principle of human dignity). (2) Every person must be encouraged to play a part in the human community and fully share in its benefits (the principle of common good, sometimes called the principle of participation in community). (3) All persons must be helped to realize their full potential (the principle of the totality and integrity of the human person).

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