Stanley Hauerwas—The Body of Medicine and the Christian Body

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The problem is quite simply that, given the reality physicians confront on a daily basis, they know what their patients know but do not want to acknowledge - that is, when it is all said and done we are all going to die. Patients, however, often do not or cannot acknowledge that reality and as a result subject physicians to expectations that cannot be met.

The tension between what the patient expects and what the physician can do is complicated by the recognition that at least one aspect of the therapy a physician represents is the trust the patient has in the physician. If the physician seems to be in doubt about what is wrong with the patient, even more what might be an appropriate intervention, patients can feel betrayed making it even more difficult for the physician to speak truthfully to their patients....

The body sets a norm for medicine because the body is classically understood as the artist of its own healing. Medicine is, therefore, best understood as an ongoing tradition of wisdom and practices through which physicians acquire the responsibility to remember, learn and pass on the skills of learning to live with a body that is destined to death....

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted March 10, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]
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