Nussbaum, a psychiatrist who labels himself a “bad Catholic,” delves with religious fervor into the mystery of his calling to serve people who suffer. Guided by mentors like Basil of Caesarea, Hildegard of Bingen, and Stanley Hauerwas, he envisions medical care as a precious craft honed by the development of virtue.
Reading about Henry Marsh’s vocation to neurosurgery, I thought about my own calling as a minister. I was startled by his depiction of detachment from patients.
At the hospital where I work, families may form relationships with pastoral care staff—but they come for our clinical competence in medicine. Gary Ferngren points out how new and odd this is.
Not every ailment can be fixed—or should be. Atul Gawande thinks we need to talk about this.
Eric Cassell reminds us that people experience sickness in profoundly individual ways. Physicians should learn to heal patients even when they cannot cure their diseases.
Sick people long to be touched—the very thing loved ones tend to avoid. In today's mechanized medicine, doctors keep their distance as well.
Jeffrey Bishop is both a physician and a philosopher. Here he turns his clinical and analytical gaze on medicine, and his diagnosis is bleak.
Fred Gaiser offers a sober, accessible review of the biblical materials pertinent to our thinking about healing.