Lesson 1: The Foundations (Lectures 1 and 2)
- Read the Oath of Hippocrates. Enumerate its duties and its limitations on the practice of medicine. What are some of the consequences for physicians who would be guided in medical practice by the Oath?
- The care of Jesus for the vulnerable is the model for the Catholic physician. Read chapters 8 and 9 of Matthew's Gospel. How do these Gospel passages guide physicians who would model their medical practice on the ministry of Jesus?
- The Prayer of Maimonides is often considered to contain a moral code for the practice of medicine. It can be found easily with a search online. List some of the important elements in the prayer. What are some of the consequences for physicians who would be guided in medical practice by the Prayer?
- Read Part One, "The Social Responsibility of Catholic Health Care Services," of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. List the principles enunciated there and indicate how these principles animate directives 1 through 9.
- Read Part Two, "The Pastoral and Spiritual Responsibility of Catholic Health Care," of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. List the most significant ideas contained in directives 10 through 22.
- Read Part Three, "The Professional-Patient Relationship" of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. Reflect on the dignity of the human person as a free creation by God in the image of God. What are the consequences for the practice of medicine? What are the consequences for the patient in the practice of medicine?
- The natural law tradition as explicated by Saint Thomas Aquinas is foundational for medical ethics in the Catholic tradition. Describe and evaluate the Natural Law theory of Thomas Aquinas. Include in the description (a) the historical antecedents of Natural Law, (b) the remote and proximate foundation of Natural Law, (c) the specification of the first principle and precept of Natural Law, (d) the formulation of the specific principles of Natural Law, and (e) the limitations as the movement to made from general principles to contingent action, and (f) the response of the Natural Law position to any issue in medical ethics.
- The integral goodness of an act requires that it be good in object, in intention, and in circumstances (bonum ex integra causa et malum ex quocumque defectu). Thomas Aquinas examines this principle in http://www.newadvent.org/summa/201800.htm Question 18 in the Summa Theologiae I-II. Summarize what he says in Question 18, article 4 and give an example of an integrally good act and give examples of each of the possible kinds of defect that renders an act evil.
- The Principle of Sanctity of Human Life has been subjected to a variety of interpretations in the contemporary culture. List several interpretations and then using an example from the practice of medicine show how the different interpretations bring about different results. Which interpretation would you defend as correct?
- Explain the principle of Double Effect and give an example of its application in contemporary medicine.
- Explain the Principle of Totality. Include in the explanation the difference between the application of the principle to a physical entity and to a moral entity. Give an example of the application of the Principle of Totality in contemporary medical practice.