Archive for December 9th, 2010

Learn to live with what you are – 2

As a follow on from the recent post, let me try to simplify where I’m at, or at least my confusion.

Perhaps using the example of a severely ill infant is too rare and specific a case to be useful in articulating a theology of medicine. My bigger interest lies in how we treat the frail elderly and care for people who may or may not be dying sooner than others.

Death is our enemy and a horrid thing, but it is not medicines job (and definitely not in our capability) to eradicate death. That is guaranteed elsewhere.

Anyhow.

If it is so that the severely ill infant of the last post – who by all appearances seems to be dying – should continue to be resuscitated and treated aggressively because they bear God’s image then it surely follows that we should continue to resuscitate the frail elderly with severe pneumonia (who will almost always have lost capacity to decide for themselves due to their acute illness).

My reaction to the severely ill infant is to aggressively resuscitate but to the elderly patient with severe pneumonia my reaction is to not aggressively resuscitate. I seem to be following a different ethic in each of those situations.

i find these two points that to be in conflict:

1) it is a good thing that you exist. You are in God’s image. Your existence blesses mine

2) it is good that you are not suffering. It is good a thing that you are not in pain

I cannot bring about 1) without going against 2) and I cannot pursue 2) without struggling to maintain 1)

Without bringing in harm/benefit ratios and a generalized utilitarian ethic I find it impossible to resolve them, though I am well aware I may be missing some fundamental point.

And I don’t mean to say that considering harm and benefit in the decision making process is necessarily a bad thing I just feel it dangerous to give them primacy.

There is no doubt a logical fallacy somewhere in there so help me out.

Thoughts people?

 

Advertisements

One line review: The Penguin History of the World

A book with such an ambitious task can only fail to achieve what one might expect of it – to summarize (the summary): a whole lot of people got born and died and a whole lot of people did horrid things to each other along the way.

 


About

December 2010
M T W T F S S
« Nov   Jan »
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  
Advertisements