The success of science and medical technology has led to medical brinkmanship, pushing aggressive treatment as far as it can go. But medicine lacks the precision necessary for such brinkmanship to succeed, and the resulting cycle of expectation and disappointment in technology has, in part, led to an increasing acceptance of euthanasia and assisted suicide, linked closely with advocacy for patient autonomy. At the opposite extreme lies medical vitalism, which refers to attempts to preserve the patient's life in and of itself without any significant hope for recovery.
Catholic healthcare should establish comprehensive compliance strategies, beyond following Medicare reimbursement laws, that reflect mission and ethics. A covenant model of business ethics--rather than a self-interest emphasis on contracts--can help organizations develop a creed to focus on obligations and trust in their relationships. The corporate integrity program (CIP) of Mercy Health System Oklahoma promotes its mission and interests, educates and motivates its employees, provides assurance of systemwide commitment, and enforces CIP policies and procedures.
Inquiry: A Journal of Medical Care Organization, Provision and Financing
Catholic hospitals maintain a significant presence in delivering hospital services in the United States, but little is known about the ways they differ from other ownership forms in similar market environments. This paper analyzes characteristics of Catholic, other private nonprofit, and investor-owned hospitals in metropolitan areas of the United States to identify the extent to which Catholic hospitals differ from other ownership types on three dimensions of mission-driven identity--access, stigmatized, and compassionate care services.
In November 1998 biologists announced that they had discovered a way to isolate and preserve human stem cells. Since stem cells are capable of developing into any kind of human tissue or organ, this was a great scientific coup. Researchers envision using the cells to replace damaged organs and to restore tissue destroyed by, for example, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, or even Alzheimer's. But, since stem cells are taken from aborted embryonic and fetal tissue or "leftover" in vitro embryos, their use raises large ethical issues.
For centuries, the Catholic Church has been a major social actor in the provision of health services, particularly health care delivered in hospitals. Through a confluence of powerful environmental forces at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the future of Catholic health care is threatened. Although Catholic hospitals are a separate case of private, nonprofit hospitals, they have experienced environmental pressures to become isomorphic with other hospital ownership types and, on some dimensions, they are equal.
CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l'Association medicale canadienne
There is a long tradition of bioethical reasoning within the Roman Catholic faith, a tradition expressed in scripture, the writings of the Doctors of the Church, papal encyclical documents and reflections by contemporary Catholic theologians. Catholic bioethics is concerned with a broad range of issues, including social justice and the right to health care, the duty to preserve life and the limits of that duty, the ethics of human reproduction and end-of-life decisions.
Religious discussion of human organs and tissues has concentrated largely on donation for therapeutic purposes. The retrieval and use of human tissue samples in diagnostic, research, and education contexts have, by contrast, received very little direct theological attention. Initially undertaken at the behest of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, this essay seeks to explore the theological and religious questions embedded in nontherapeutic use of human tissue.
Disagreement over the legitimacy of direct sterilization continues within Catholic moral debate, with painful and at times confusing ramifications for Catholic healthcare systems. This paper argues that the medical profession should be construed as a key moral authority in this debate, on two grounds. First, the recent revival of neo-Aristotelianism in moral philosophy as applied to medical ethics has brought out the inherently moral dimensions of the history and current practice of medicine.
As the twentieth century closes, marked by triumphal strides in medical advances, the American society has yet to ensure that each person has access to affordable health care. To correct this injustice, this article calls on the nation's political and corporate leaders, providers, and faith-based groups to join all Americans in a new national conversation on systemic health care reform.
Government and market forces have fundamentally transformed the religious healthcare sector. Religious healthcare organizations are struggling to define their identities and determine what it is that makes them different and what implications the differences have for the delivery of social services and for public life.