Bioethicist Presents “Compassion and Conscience”
1 December 2013 • On-Campus • St. Ambrose Society
"I've made hard decisions both in the boardroom, and with patients, and the thoughts I share with you are born out of practical experience," began Dr. Ryan Nash, the Hagop S. Mekhjian, MD chair in Medical Ethics and Professionalism and director of the Ohio State University Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities. The physician and scholar's presentation, "Compassion and Conscience: Toward Health, the Good Life and the Good Death," was sponsored by the St. Ambrose Society, a St. Vladimir's Seminary student-led organization that promotes the sanctity of human life through lectures, prayer, film screenings, and other events both on and off campus.
As a practicing physician, Dr. Nash has discovered that many health care workers and hospitals are now operating under a new rubric: "If the procedure is legal, then it is ethical; if it is ethical, then patients have a right to demand that all physicians provide it." Physicians are then recast as mere medical technicians, he explained in his lecture, and as a parallel, chaplains become mere psychological technicians.
In his lecture, Dr. Nash defended a more robust notion of patient health and well-being, one that is informed by foundational understandings of what it is to be human. "Should there be a particular Christian medicine?" he asked. "If so, what would this look like in today's context?
"If we take our eschatology seriously we will do our healthcare accordingly," he stressed. "Orthodox Christians in medicine should resist an outcome-based, secularized norms and instead boldly proclaim religious truth. Our goal should be to baptize this existing philosophy, insisting on a particular view of truth, as represented by the icon of Christ. We don't follow philosophies, we follow Christ, the living God."
In addition to practicing medicine and teaching, Dr. Nash serves on the editorial boards of The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy and Christian Bioethics. His publications include multiple abstracts, manuscripts, book chapters, and one book, and he has presented more than 60 scientific papers and invited lectures at national and international meetings. His depth of knowledge and experience was evident during the lively question and answer session following the lecture, which was recorded for Ancient Faith Radio's Voices from St. Vladimir's podcast.
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