FW: medical ethics

Kenneth Allen Feucht (kenf@kenf.seanet.com)
Sun, 5 May 1996 02:27:10 -0700

From: Kenneth Allen Feucht[SMTP:kenf@kenf.seanet.com]
Sent: Friday, May 03, 1996 21:59
To: 'Paul Arveson'
Subject: RE: medical ethics

Several issues are apparent when one attempts to do medical ethics. As a =
physician, I realize how physicians tend to be the least involved in =
such an activity, yet they should be the most active. Then I realize how =
nearly everyone makes it their avocation to do medical ethics, and when =
thinks of "ethics", medical ethics is a large part of the schema that =
they view as ethics. Abortion, Physician assisted suicide, euthanasia, =
reproductive technologies and the like are common topics of the street, =
yet are the substantive topics that trouble medical ethicists.
Unfortunately, many people acclaim themselves to be medical ethicists of =
Christian bent, but present nothing more than a secular ethic with a =
Christian glaze. Specifically, I am referring to people such as Kilner. =
I have challenged his thought and ethic in the recently revived Journal =
of Biblical Ethics in Medicine, a journal which seem contains some of =
the most reflective thought on ethics currently available, but =
distinctly committed to maintaining a Scriptural orientation.=20
Why should one want to perform ethics by surveys? Do most ASAer's =
understand the distinctives that form a Biblical ethic? Does "doing" =
ethics as you propose necessitate the thought of those from bastions of =
academia and science? Why would the ASA be more erudite than the man off =
the street? I ask these questions, because of the essense of ethics, =
which is that of knowing the will of God, and scientists tend to do a =
very poor job of that (I'm sure you'll take issue with this statement).
I am a surgical oncologist in a Seattle/Tacoma suburb, enjoy reading =
medical ethics, and vigorously sought and obtained the chairmanship of =
the ethics committee of a medium size but very busy community hospital. =
I realize at this time that medicine is involved in a rapidly changing =
paradigm of how we view and think of patients. This paradigm shift is =
partially reflected in the dismal lack of resistance of physicians to =
those things we would have anathamatized in the past, such as the legal =
ability of physicians to kill their patients. I am in the process of =
instituting a county-wide resistance to the activity of PAS, and am =
getting quite mediocre results from both the public and the =
medical/scientific community. I view that soon, the only resolve will be =
for physicians to part company with their secular counterparts, as =
Hippocrates and the Pythagoreans had to do in the past.=20
The trouble is that we have reached a point where we not only have (1) =
lost the means for accurately discerning the will of God, but have also =
(2) lost the drive to really do it. The solutions are as follows; for =
point (1), learning to discern the mind of God through Scripture alone, =
something that will best be done in the seminaries and private lives of =
all concerned Christians, and (2) restoring churches with the vision of =
confessing Christ, replacing the "therapeutic" church of today.
I don't see a legitimate role for the ASA in this process. Why do you =
propose that the ASA is a proper forum for medical ethics?
Deus Vobiscum,
Kenneth A. Feucht, MD, PhD, FACS