lunedì, luglio 31, 2017

Medicine is intrinsically ethical

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. It is not simply a science but also a practice inspired by ethical values. So, what is the difference with other sciences? Take for instance mineralogy. It is the description of the chemical and physical properties of minerals. Medicine, instead, aims not simply at describing what a human body is but it is also based on the assumption that there is a natural order, which we call health, and the purpose of the medical practice is to keep or to restore this order. There is an intrinsic good (health) that we discover through science and we preserve and reestablish through practice.
For instance, anatomy and physiology tell us what is the proper function of the eyes, i.e. to see. This is not simply a description but it also contains a prescriptive element because the ideal eye is also the normative model that the doctor uses when she acts to keep the patient’s eyes healthy or to prevent their diseases.
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 (or might happen) in a hospital or a clinic is necessarily medicine, unless it aims at preventing and curing diseases, and also at the same time at taking care of patients.
Not all interventions that alter our bodies surgically or chemically are medicine, even if a scientist (medical expert) might be involved. Getting your facial features surgically changed to look more like your music idol is not medicine. Killing the unborn because she was unplanned or is disabled is not medicine. Augmenting your muscles through drugs to win a weightlifting contest is not medicine. Removing a perfectly healthy organ to adjust your body to your perceived gender is not medicine. Facilitating suicide is not medicine.
In all these examples a certain level of scientific knowledge is necessary but they lack what makes medicine more than a science: the ethical value of health. They might involve someone who has a proper knowledge of the human body but his purpose, in these examples, is not to restore or preserve the good of the functioning body.
They are instances of scientific techniques without ethics.
There is a growing pressure by certain ideologies to transform medicine, which is necessarily lead by an objective good that we call health, into the satisfaction of the subjective requests of the patient.
If bodily autonomy (my body, my choice), rather than health, is the ultimate value then there is no reason why doctor should not amputate a healthy arm or leg, when requested, or administer a dangerous substance, for recreation or self-harm. Without the guiding principle of health, practitioners become simply the executors of someone else’s desires. Obviously, people can do what they want with their bodies but this is not medicine.

There is no 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.

venerdì, luglio 28, 2017

KINGS KALEIDOSCOPE - Felix Culpa



Turn the lights on, look at what I have See the twisted trophies of a dead man Countless stories, tell of sin and pain But they sing the sweetness of my savior’s grace I’m a torn man, spirit fighting flesh There’s a battle raging deep in my chest But all that haunts me, all that leaves a stain Only sings the sweetness of my savior’s grace A fortunate fall, my sins are stories of grace to recall A fortunate fall, I glory in my sins forgiven Jesus bought me, and now I am His Dying with Him, in His death I now live All my vices, to which I was chained Only speak the sweetness of my savior’s grace And still I’m a wicked, wretched man, I do everything I hate I am fighting to be god, I seethe and claw and thrash and shake I have killed and stacked the dead, on a throne from which I reign In the end I just want blood, and with His blood my hands are stained See the God who reigns on high, He has opened His own veins From His wounds a rushing torrent that can wash it all away Grace upon grace, upon grace upon grace