Human Suffering and the Medical Mandate

Dr. Paul D. Simmons
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The moral purposes of medicine are focused in the goals of therapy and respect for persons. Medicine should relieve dysfunctional pain and suffering but it has no mandate to defeat suffering that is noble or inspiring. Refusing to relieve pain and suffering on the part of the dying, for instance, is a denial of medical beneficence and disrespectful to the dying. Discussion will relate to the debate regarding embryo stem cell research to relieve such problems as spinal cord injury or neurological difficulties.

Keywords: Human suffering, Medical beneficence, Dysfunctional pain, Patient autonomy, Moral medicine
Stream: Philosophy, Ethics, Consciousness
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr. Paul D. Simmons

Clinical Professor and Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Philosophy, Dept. of Family and Geriatric Medicine, and Dept. of Philosophy, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY

Personal interest in the intersections of religion and public policy. I have contributed to the (inter)national debate on medical ethics on topics such as abortion, genetics, in-vitro fertilization, elective death, the artificial heart and health care. I have written five books: "The Southern Baptist Tradition: Religious Beliefs and Healthcare Decisions" (2002), "Birth and Death: Bioethical Decision Making" (1983), "Issues in Christian Ethics" (1980), and "Growing Up with Sex" (1973) for early teens (9th ed.1997). "Freedom of Conscience: a Baptist-Humanist Dialogue" (edited, Prometheus, Feb. 2000), is a study of the First Amendment and its importance for religious and non-religious people. I have three monographs: "Personhood, the Bible and the Abortion Debate" is in its third edition (1992). I have contributed to nineteen books including "Abortion, Medicine and the Law" (4th ed., 1992), "Bioethics Yearbook" (1991, 1993, 1997), and "Secular Bioethics in Theological Perspective" (1996). He has more than fifty articles in professional journals, as in the Saint Louis University Public Law Review (1994), Christian Bioethics (2:1, 1996), Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect (1999), Journal of Church and State (2000), Microsurgery (2000) and Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics (2001) and Christian Ethics Today (July, 1997, Summer 2003).

Ref: H05P0863