As you know, I’m studying for my Master’s in Bioethics at Trinity International University, an Evangelical university in Deerfield, Chicago.
Jerri Lynn Ward, J.D., asks at her blog, Texas Advance Directives Blog, how medical ethicists are being trained today.
TIU has a Masters in Bioethics program begun by Nigel Cameron and John F. Kilner in conjunction with the Center for Bioethics and Humanities. Two of the physicians who teach there are Robert Orr and Edmund Pelligrino. We also have lawyers, such as Paige Cunningham of Americans United for Life.(Take a look at some of the wonderful work on the CBHD website on the Physician and Covenant.
Unfortunately, the great majority of “bioethicists” are not physicians and they are not trained in a setting where the Christian worldview predominates. Some, like R. Alta Charo from Wisconsin are lawyers. Art Caplan from Pennsylvania is a Ph.D. in the History of Science.
All too often, doctors who usually begin our education in order to help people are – in effect – taught that medical ethics are the way to avoid being sued or reported to the State Medical Board. We are grilled in the necessity to follow government laws and regulations and corporate insurance guidelines, such as those mentioned in Dr. Faria’s article copied at Ms. Ward’s blog and in this one on Cardiac rehabilitation hospitals.
The bulk of continuing medical education on “ethics” doesn’t cover why we do what we do, but how to follow the law and avoid being sued or audited by Medicare (and the guns and fines of the Office of the Inspector General) and the corporate insurance bean counters.
I’m trying to do something about it by encouraging pro-life, pro-family doctors and scientists to speak out at their professional societies and to monitor our laws, regulations and traditions (especially all the changes in definitions) that risk the protection of any human, no matter how young, old, or especially how sick they are. First, do no harm.