Martha was blind until four years ago, when Medicaid paid for her to have a corneal transplant. For the first time in her life she could see. Now she has a job. But with recent cuts in funding, Martha has lost her Medicaid. She can no longer afford the antirejection medicine she must take daily because of her transplant. And without the medicine she will slowly go blind.
Both doctors and patients are demoralized these days, says Arthur Frank, though neither group is aware of what the other is experiencing. Doctors are suffering discouragement and alienation instead of enjoying the hope and human connection that lured them to the profession.
The Terri Schiavo case stirred much moral controversy over what constitutes ordinary care for the dying and what respect we should show for the wishes of the dying. These are serious matters, not discussed often enough. But there are other important moral and medical issues that were widely ignored in the debate.
Your relationship with your doctor might be more complicated than you ever imagined. Financial conflicts of interest abound among physicians, researchers, insurance companies, professional societies, university medical centers, editorial boards, government agencies and the pharmaceutical industry.
The percentage of Americans in poverty and without health insurance grew in 2003 for the third straight year—to 35.9 million people (one out of every eight) in poverty and 45 million (15.6 percent) without health insurance, reports the U.S. Census Bureau. The poverty threshold is $18,660 for a family of four. Those numbers do not tell the whole story, said Joseph C.
After bandaging a stranger’s wounds, the Good Samaritan in Jesus’ famous parable instructs the innkeeper to provide whatever further care is needed—he will foot the bill. Such an action, Jesus tells us, defines what it is to be a neighbor.
For more than two decades Alan Verhey has been helping the Christian community understand the interconnections between our commitments to scripture and to the moral life. His work is especially insightful when he focuses on how our reading of the Bible can inform and guide our interaction with modern medicine.