Medical ethics is a polarizing topic in the contemporary West. While medical practice has traditionally established its goal as the protection of life, and most medical students take some form of the Hippocratic Oath upon graduation from medical school, the definition of life and the conditions in which it should be protected are increasingly up for debate.
In this article, John V. Gerardi comments on the recent speech given by Pope Francis to a group of Italian gynecologists, in which the Pope admonished medical practitioners to protect life on the basis of traditional Western and Christian values. While the Pope affirmed advances in medical science, he claimed that practitioners could only protect life effectively by also recalling the dignity of the human person, upheld in the ancient Greek Hippocratic Oath, “do no harm,” and by learning to see the face of the suffering Christ in patients of all kinds, even the unborn. This article will be of value for medical practitioners and those of other vocations trying to discern how to work from a culturally-sensitive, positive Christian ethic.
Does the Hippocratic Oath still establish a legitimate standard for medical ethics? Why or why not?
Are Pope Francis’s positive grounds for the protection of life compelling, or are there other bases, from within the Western or Christian tradition or from outside of it, for the protection of life?
Source: Ethika PolitikaView This Resource