Sunday, February 10, 2008

Why They Call It "Practicing" Medicine

When 35-year-old Michelle Stepney of London, England went to the hospital showing signs of having miscarried her twins, the doctors discovered cervical cancer. So far from having miscarried, the babies in their vigor had kicked loose a tumor in their mother's womb, thereby cluing doctors in to a condition they might not otherwise have discovered in a timely manner.

So naturally, the docs told Michelle she would need to abort her twins in order to survive. This she refused to do. "I knew I could have an operation straight away and it would cure me of the cancer," she said, "but that would mean getting rid of my babies and I couldn't do that. I had two lives inside me and I just couldn't give up on them -- especially after they had saved me like this."

And events bore her out. Instead of undergoing an abortion, Michelle opted for reduced chemotherapy to prevent the cancer from spreading, with constant monitoring of the twins' health. Alice and Harriet Stepney were delivered by C-section in December of 2006, underweight and hairless, but otherwise healthy; they are thriving today. And their mother, who underwent a hysterectomy a month later, has been cancer-free ever since.

Thus is proven wrong yet another authoritative pronouncement by doctors on the side of death -- and they do frequently seem to err on the side of death in our post-Hippocratic-Oath world. This is an age of astounding advances in medicine; yet doctors are still fallible human beings with faulty moral compasses, just like the rest of us. And so there is no need to accord unconditional obedience to doctors, whether they are telling you you must die in six months, you must have embryonic stem cell research to live -- or you must abort your child. There's a reason they call it "practicing" medicine: they haven't got it right yet.

No comments:

Post a Comment