The Christian Virtues in Medical Practice is a soul touching and brain boosting book prepared by Edmund D. Pellegrino and David C. Thomasma in 1996. It speaks of how being a Christian makes a difference in being a physician. The philosophies of the authors made a colorful explanation in the book on how virtue ethics counts a lot. Faith, hope and charity were given emphasis since it is the three Christian virtues that medical practitioners should acquire in their profession.
Many things in the book relate medicine and ethics which made it interesting especially if you are a believer of the Christian faith. The book is designed with faith so that physicians will dwell not only on medical but with spiritual healing as well. It has weakness in a sense that doctors who do not profess a Christian faith will surely goes against this book. In addition to this, there are some medical explanations that cannot be simply linked to one’s belief in faith and virtues.
Nevertheless majority of the book talks about ethical principles pertaining to morality, spirituality and virtue focused medical practices in health care. “Faith points the way, hope sustains us on that way and charity is the ordering principle which deliberation, raising morality to the level of love” (Pellegrino and Thomasma, 1996).
The aforementioned virtues will give more meaning to medicine because it is an additional healing factor to the contemporary ethics of medicine.
The authors also talks about how Christian physicians may not acquire these virtues but it is a must for them to have it included in their profession. There were also viewpoints in the book telling how faith, hope and charity in medical practices should be taught even to physicians who are non-believers of Christian faith. Cases of euthanasia, abortion and incompetent surgery were cited as an example to defend the importance of attributing morality and virtue ethics in patient treatment.
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Violent means violates the virtue of charity which for the book is really against the Christian way of medical practice. There are hypocrisies that can be found in the book since clashing of principle based and virtue based ethics were present. It serves as a guide on how physicians should act according to the Christian teaching and at the same time never sacrifices their profession as medical practitioners. For the book itself, moral judgment is an art. Moral life is designed to make the right decisions during medical circumstances.
The physician in charge should incorporate discernment and right motivation in everything he or she does. The book is not for the most part concerned with the substance of ethical decisions but with the manner of arriving at them. It is focused merely on virtue ethics and has a Christian moral philosophy that looks upon St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine. This ethical virtue can never be neglected and there have been considerable discussions of both moral theology and philosophy. Fundamentals of the book lie in the Christian understanding of the physician’s dignity.
It is overwhelming to notice how the authors cite the words of Pope John Paul II as examples to fully explain their points of view. Physicians who are great followers of Christianity and incorporate medication with a heart will surely enjoy the book and share it to their non-Christian colleagues. But for those who values professionalism than faith, this book is not the right one to read. References: Pellegrino, E. D. and Thomasma, D. C. (1996).
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The Christian Virtues in Medical Practice. USA: Georgetown University Press.