Clinical Ethics and the Suffering Christian
Christian Bioethics. 1996 Aug; 2(2): 239-252.
Contrary to the ecumenical spirit of our time, the differences among the Christian religions bring into question what one can say or do in common with fellow Christians. This issue, echoing the program of this journal, accentuates those differences, specifically when we focus on the Christian who is ill and suffering. At the bedside, it is the specifics of a religion, including not only its doctrines, but its informing and sustaining narratives, that must particularly be brought into play for the sake of the patient. Given this, our focus in this article regards what such a view implies for the clinician who is caring for a Christian patient whose religion he may or may not share, in general or in its specifics. Our basic conclusion is that the tendency for the clinician to act as both the patient's spiritual counselor, as well as his clinician, is generally neither prudent nor appropriate. Both hats should not be worn concurrently. This view is advanced not only because of concerns regarding patient vulnerability and the possible abuse of power, but also because the two roles may collide with or undermine each other.
Caring; Christian Ethics; Christians; Clinical Ethics; Communication; Cultural Pluralism; Ethicists; Ethics; Ethics Committees; Health; Health Facilities; Hospitals; Institutional Policies; Pastoral Care; Patient Care; Physician Patient Relationship; Physician's Role; Professional Patient Relationship; Power; Religion; Religious Hospitals; Suffering;
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