As David Kelly writes, "Catholic moral theology has not been completely constant over the centuries; it has learned and developed". "In Contemporary Catholic Health Care Ethics" he demonstrates how Catholic health care ethics can - and should - evolve similarly in response to the lightning speed of modern medical advances. Kelly draws on and analyzes the Catholic tradition of medical ethics - but he does not shy away from criticizing it as well, giving health care professionals, hospital ethics committees, and students a fresh treatment of Catholic health care ethics emphasizing theology, methodology, and application. First discussing the Catholic understanding of the human person, Kelly proposes a Catholic Christian approach to the meaning of human life as it applies specifically to health care. He includes a brief history of the relationship between religion and medicine, and makes strong claims about how theology ought and ought not to be applied in health care ethics.
Drawing from the terminology and approaches used by secular bioethics, he suggests how a Catholic perspective on health care can utilize certain secular moral-philosophical positions, even as they apply to the issues of birth control, and end-of life concerns. As practitioners, patients, and families face the difficult decision to continue or stop treatment for dying patients, Kelly compassionately, but practically, explores their concerns in light of American law and ethics. Finally, he provides measured insight on pain management, hospital ethics committees, stem cell research, genetic engineering, and allocation of health care resources. "Contemporary Catholic Health Care Ethics" is informed, challenging, articulate, and bold - bringing to the extremely important field of Catholic health care ethics a much-needed and welcome voice, unafraid to speak to the most difficult issues of the 21st century.
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David F. Kelly is the Vernon F. Gallagher Professor of Theology and Health Care Ethics and director of the Health Care Ethics Center at Duquesne University. He has studied in Louvain, Belgium, and in Toronto and has garnered much practical experience from his work at St. Francis and Mercy Hospitals in Pittsburgh.
Acknowledgements Introduction Part One: Theological Basis 1. Religion and Health Care 2. The Dignity of Human Life 3. The Integrity of the Human Person 4. Implications for Health Care 5. Theological Principles in Health Care Ethics Part Two: Method 6. The Levels and Questions of Ethics 7. Freedom and the Moral Agent 8. Right and Wrong 9. Metaethics 10. Method in Catholic Bioethics 11. Catholic Method and Birth Control 12. The Principle of Double Effect Part Three: Application 13. Forgoing Treatment, Pillar One: Ordinary and Extraordinary Means 14. Forgoing Treatment, Pillar Two: Killing and Allowing to Die 15. Forgoing Treatment, Pillar Three: A) Decisions by Competent Patients 16. Forgoing Treatment, Pillar Three: B) Decisions for Incompetent Patients 17. Forgoing Treatment, Pillar Three: C) Advance Directives 18. Hydration and Nutrition 19. Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia 20. Medical Futility 21. Pain and Pain Management 22. Ethics Committees 23. Embryonic Stem Cells and the Beginning of Personhood 24. Genetic Engineering 25. Allocating Health Care Resources 26. The Use and Misuse of the Allocation Argument Glossary References
I warmly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Roman Catholic way of thinking about questions in the field of medical ethics. Ethics and Medicine Every bioethicist should read Contemporary Catholic Health Care Ethics... Its worth comes from exemplifying a re-engagement with ethical theory, religious principles, and spiritual thinking that is missing from contemporary bioethics in the United States. Medical Humanities Review
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