Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Son, the Doctor!

I may not have gone down the Jewish Doctor route, but it doesn't mean I'm not interested.

I took my lunch hour today to catch Fred Rosner, the preeminent Doctor and ethicist at the Washington University (in St. Louis) School of Medicine aka Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

It almost felt like a Torah lesson, but from the guy who wrote the book on Jewish BioMedical Ethics (literally), it was worth a listen.

That guy at the end of the table is Dr. Rosner.

He raised the point that Ethics are getting more, not less complicated, as the issues of ownership of one's own body, right to care, right to refuse care, right to die, right to live, right to party, etc. are blurred by new technologies.

Is it Jewish to be cryogenic-ly frozen, only to be reanimated at a later date?

If a terrorist carries out an attack but survives and is brought to the same hospital as the victims of the attack, does the terrorist get treated? At what priority level?

What about in-vitro fertilization, abortion, organ donation and transplantation?

The issues swirled around us almost as quickly as the Dr. spoke (which was pretty frickin fast).

The ultimate take away for me is the concept of 'Pikuach Nefesh', that a Jew can and must do anything and everything to save a life (any human life).

Every this, though is complicated by how we define life, both in cases of beginning and end.

In typical Jewish fashion, there were many questions raised, with few answers provided. I may make a habit of this.

Click here
for more information about the Jewish Medical Ethics Lunch and Learn Discssions

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