When Did I Begin? investigates the theoretical, moral, and biological issues surrounding the debate over the beginning of human life. With the continuing controversy over the use of in vitro fertilization techniques and experimentation with human embryos, these issues have been forced into the arena of public debate. Following a detailed analysis of the history of the question, Reverend Ford argues that a human individual could not begin before definitive individuation occurs with the appearance of the primitive streak about two (...) weeks after fertilization. This, he argues, is when it becomes finally known whether one or more human individuals are to form from a single egg. Thus, he questions the idea that the fertilized egg itself could be regarded as the beginning of the development of the human individual. The author also differs sharply, however, from those who would delay the beginning of the human person until the brain is formed, or until birth or the onset of conscious states. (shrink)
Decisions about targeting medical assistance in humanitarian contexts are fraught with dilemmas ranging from non-availability of basic services, to massive demographic and epidemiological shifts, and to the threat of insecurity and evacuations. Aid agencies are obliged, due to capacity constraints and competing priorities, to clearly define the objectives and the beneficiaries of their actions. That aid agencies have to set limits to their actions is not controversial, but the process of defining the limits raises ethical questions. In MSF, frameworks for (...) resource allocation are subject to constant reflection and reiteration, and perspectives are sought at all levels, from implementers at the programme level to the operational directors at headquarters. The perspectives of the programmes staff hold considerable weight as they have the knowledge and experience with particular communities to assess the degree of vulnerability and need, and are also the people who ultimately have to give explanations to beneficiaries when changes or closures are going to be instituted. Humanitarian agencies have a responsibility to ensuring that their workers are prepared to reflect on these dilemmas, and challenge the status quo when it costs lives. (shrink)
Ford, Norman M Doctors and nurses understand the personal dignity of their patients and their natural desire to be healthy and happy. The aged with failing memories or mental impairments are persons whose dignity and moral worth remain intact. They also know patients differ in their personal circumstances, their faith, their stages of life's journey and their attitude to sickness and approach of death. This awareness enables them to adequately perform their valuable professional services from a subject centred perspective as (...) well as from an objective approach based on our shared rational human nature. All this needs to be re-affirmed for patients, especially the aged, those living with post coma unresponsiveness, Alzheimer's disease and any other unconscious state. (shrink)
Ford, Norman There has been some confusion in the media over what Pope Benedict XVI meant by his comments on the use of condoms. He was discussing acts of sexual intercourse performed by male prostitutes in relation to HIV (human immune deficiency virus) infection in reply to a question put to him during an interview with Peter Seewald. The Vatican spokesman Fr Lombardi SJ said the Pope 'had confirmed to him that the example was valid in the case of all (...) prostitutes. The point of the example, he said, "was not the sex of the prostitute but the process of growing awareness of the risk [to] the life of the other person".' He was not referring to married couples nor contraception but the prevention of HIV infection from acts of prostitution. (shrink)
Ford, Norman M Throughout history Catholics held the commonly accepted views of the times regarding human reproduction, and these views changed as advances were made in scientific knowledge. Hence, it would be best to begin with Aristotle's views on human reproduction.
Ford, Norman Catholic healthcare facilities fulfil their mission in the world of the sick and dying of all ages. Challenges occasionally arise to remain faithful to their identity and mission in a world whose ethical standards are changing. This article discusses the nature of the challenges ahead.
Ford, Norman Many people think that the Catholic Church is morally opposed to all research and therapeutic use of stem cells. This is far from the truth. The Church is rightly morally opposed to all destructive use of human embryos to obtain pluripotent embryonic stem cells, but it is not opposed to pluripotent stem cells ethically derived from adult cells.
Ford, Norman This is an article to introduce readers to the issue of people planning their options for future health care and medical treatment, and the importance of taking it seriously and acting on it.
Ford, Norman Lord Brennan, a Catholic Lawyer, chaired an inquiry into the allegations following criticism of certain unethical practices performed in St John and Elizabeth, a large London Catholic Private Hospital, thus providing an opportunity to reflect on the ethics of cooperating in the unethical actions of others. It is recommended that the opinion of a hospital's select group of staff, an ethicist and/or moral theologian would help discern when a proportionately critical cause justifies cooperation and hence collusion with evil (...) would be avoided. (shrink)
Ford, Norman Details of a speech given during a conference called 'Health Care Towards the End of Life, Ethics and Spirituality', organised by the Caroline Chisholm Centre for Health Ethics and held at St Vincent's Hospital on May 23, 2006 are presented. The topic of the conference was the impact of spirituality on making healthcare decisions. Special consideration to the relationship of patients' conscience and autonomy to their spirituality, religious beliefs or lack thereof was recommended considering some beliefs of many (...) Christians, which could consciously or subconsciously influence their healthcare decisions. (shrink)
Ford, Norman Victoria's Minister for Health, the Hon. Bronwyn Pike MLA introduced a Bill to allow therapeutic cloning in Victoria on March 13, 2007. If this Bill is passed, Victoria would be the first State to permit somatic cell nuclear transfer (therapeutic cloning) and thereby open the way for the destruction of cloned human embryos for therapeutic purposes and medical research.
Ford, Norman Following on from the previous article by Anne Moates, I will take for granted the need for all infected birds to be tracked down and destroyed. I am assuming the scenario that some human beings may be infected by a mutated form of the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza so that this modified bird flu virus can be transmitted from human to human by social contact. Some of the ethical issues that arise in this possible scenario need to (...) be briefly considered. (shrink)
Ford, Norman The basic moral principle in health care requires us to have medical treatment that is reasonably required in the circumstances to restore health or to save life. It is the responsibility of healthcare professionals to interpret this duty in dialogue with their patients.
Ford, Norman In 1972 Brian Jennett and Fred Plum recommended the term 'persistent vegetative state' to describe a state of continuing 'wakefulness without awareness', which can follow a variety of severe insults to the brain. Their description of the syndrome has stood the test of time, but PVS continues to be a source of medical, legal, and ethical debate.
Ford, Norman Once therapies using embryonic stem cells enter clinical practice, pressure will increase to find pluripotent stem cells for therapeutic purposes that are not derived from human embryos. This article explores several likely sources of such pluripotent cells.
Ford, Norman The moral worth and dignity of the unborn child varies according to peoples' fundamental religious and personal beliefs on what constitutes a human person. The antithetical views on the moral value of the unborn child are due to different philosophies, which admits the existence and meaningfulness of nonmaterial reality and the other that practically denies both.