Roman Catholic Medical Ethics: Beginning and End-of-Life Issues
The Catholic health system accounts for 16 percent of the nation’s health care, second only to the VA hospital system in scope of services provided by a single organization. The May issue takes a close look at how the Catholic ethical tradition guides medical education and affects patient care. A hallmark of both education and caregiving is dedication to treating each patient’s mind, body and spirit. The clinical cases examine the Catholic position on tubal ligation, artificial nutrition and hydration for patients in persistent vegetative states, and palliative sedation. Other articles explain the principle of double effect and the priority the Catholic tradition gives to care for the poor and vulnerable. The health law essay asks whether there are (or should be) limits to professionals’ expression of faith-based conscientious objection in a pluralist society.