Reclaiming the Doctor-Patient Relationship
Challenges are circling the doctor-patient relationship on every side. Legalized marijuana use, gender affirmation requirements, conflicts for employed physicians, brain death dilemmas, electronic medical records, erosions into conscience protection, and other quandaries are all threatening the doctor-patient relationship.
Any Catholic physician who is breathing and conscious in America knows well the pressure to comply with viewpoints and practices on sexuality and gender that violate Catholic faith and conscience. But as rapidly as professional pressure escalates, scientific support for such perspectives continues to crumble.
In the secular medical and bioethics literature, there is much talk in prominent journals that those who do not agree with the prevailing mores on secularist ethics should leave the profession. On many frustrating days, we may feel the same way. Why stay when there is so much personal suffering and sacrifice?
Before encountering the CMA, I knew of only two subcultures of medicine. The first is the culture of “moving the meat” which sacrifices the humanity of patients at the altar of efficiency. In this culture, there is no value even in learning the names of your patients when you can refer to them as “chest pain in room 22” or “vomiting in room 12."
The doctor-patient relationship is one of the most sacred in society. Its foundation is the selfless desire to serve and heal those who suffer. As doctors, we have the opportunity to see the suffering of Jesus Christ in all our patients.
Authentic Catholic medical care seeks to encounter and accompany a patient with robust care that attends to all dimensions of the person on the physical, emotional, and spiritual levels. Our “high-touch” care, while soothing the patient with a humane bedside manner of touch, encouragement, and sympathy, involves a higher touch: that of Jesus Christ.
Dr. Paula Trzepacz's path to becoming one of the top medical researchers in the country began as a child. It was this path that also led her back to reclaim the faith of her childhood later in life.
This area suffered from the Lord’s Resistance Army who kidnapped and tortured children, turning the boys into soldiers and the girls into “wives,” along with other atrocities that destroyed their culture.
Sharing the truth with the larger secular segment of medicine which is becoming more hostile to it is one vital reason why supporting the CMA is so important today.
The Catholic Medical Association Student Section (CMA-SS) is having an exciting start to 2020 with six new student chapters approved and operating around the country, bringing the total to 31.