Earlier this century there was a broad consensus about ethical decision making in medicine. Ethical codes such as the Hippocratic Oath and its modern restatement The Declaration of Geneva (1948) were broadly accepted by secular bodies and largely consistent with the Bible. This is no longer the case. Both medicine and society have changed dramatically over the last few decades in ways that have made ethical decision-making much more complicated than before.
First, medical knowledge and technology have advanced astronomically. The general practitioner managing a case of lobar pneumonia at the turn of the century did not have to make a decision about whether or not to give antibiotics. There weren’t any. We now have surgical operations for the patient with an aortic aneurysm, ventilators for the premature infant with respiratory distress and phenothiazines for the schizophrenic, and we have to decide whether to use them.
Second, because of the influence of the mass media, medical knowledge is less and less secret and more and more public property. An increasingly educated public knows what technology is available and is demanding it. This increased scrutiny is making our decisions more visible and our practice more accountable.
Third, the specialisation that has resulted from the increase in knowledge and technology available has meant a move to team decision-making. The solitary doctor at the bedside has been replaced by a team of subspecialists, a hierarchy of medical staff, a host of paramedical specialties and a vast array of technical and management personnel – each expert in his or her own small field.
St. Luke Society has been supporting the student’s studies through freshman orientation, medical vocation study. The great ability is needed to become a great doctor. Without the basic, it’s difficult to carry out the commission as the doctor. There are several difficulties and worries as the medical students study in School. About them, we give the answers and help them so that they can prepare the next semester’s study. During the school holidays, we open the medical study meeting that the senior students can help the junior students to prepare the next semester’s study. We think that raising the disciples of the Lord who have the spirituality of faith but also are not behind the intelligence is the important commission.