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Medical Science and Faith:

BIOETHICS
and the Case of Stem Cell Therapy
Lay formation Center
Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan
OOOOO
Fr, Jerry Reb. Manlangit,
Op, PHD
UST graduate school, manila
Shrine and basilica

Medical Science and Faith

Being a Physician
and the Medical Science

Medical Science and Faith


Medicine and faith are both sciences and they have their
own objects of studies to pursue.
Medical science and faith are not contradictory. They are
complimentary. Both are bodies of knowledge that are
concerned with truth. Truths are not opposites but
allies. Hence, if they are both truths, they help illumine
each other and are sourced from known knowledge.
Medical knowledge is acquired from experimental truths.
Faith is known from revealed truths.

Medical Science and Faith


Medical science operates on facts that are observable.
It is highly technical but it is a human endeavour. Hence, it
requires not just technical knowledge but human
knowledge. Such knowledge includes facts that belong to
human categories. Such categories include what is properly
human like feelings, understanding, beliefs, culture and
above all ethos.
Therefore, the treatment of patients cannot just be reduced
to technical matters but includes the intangibles, like the
interior disposition of the patients. Here we distinctly
consider what is right or wrong, good or bad, ethical or
unethical.

Medical Science and Faith


Medical Practice is ethical practice.
A doctor without ethics is only a technician.
But a doctor with ethics is truly called a
physician.

Medical Science and Faith


The word physician comes from Latin and
Greek word physica, which means nature.
Hence, a physician is considered an expert
of nature. This nature is endowed with life.
To be a good physician is to be a good
biologist - a scientist of life, for life and about
life. And a human being is certainly endowed
with life. Therefore, a physician is an expert of
human life.

Medical Science and Faith

Nothing could be more nature-charged than a


human being who is endowed with a complex nature.
He is considered an embodied spirit, a being who is
a unity of both physical body and a spiritual soul.

Medical Science and Faith


A physician must therefore understand the
complexities of a human being. Whatever he decides
to do must be for the well-being of the whole person
whose nature has the component of sense of right
and wrong since he is an intelligent being and
conscious of what he decides upon.
Besides, the person of the physician makes
decisions based on what is not only technically
possible but also ethically acceptable.

Medical Science and Faith

Medicine (or health care) is a moral enterprise.


Leon R. Kass, MD, Bioethicist, (1985)

The ought or ethical dimension is an integral part of the medical


decision.
Kevin ORourke, OP, Prof.-Bioethicist (1987)

Healthcare professionals have the knowledge and skill to make


technical decisions, but every healthcare decision involves human needs
& human values that are subject to choice. Therefore, health caring is
also an ethical decision and is loaded with deontology (duty) towards
ones fellows.
Kevin ORourke, OP, Prof.-Bioethicist

Without a correct moral line, the best professional is always bad.


Without the moral source, the very technical efficiency of the profession
fades away and disappears. Bioethics springs forth from the medical
profession like a spontaneous flower.
Gregorio Maranon, MD, Spanish Doctor (1985)

Medical Science and Faith

A doctor cannot be purely technical. For


Science cannot answer all the medical needs of
the patients.
It requires humanity and
character of the expert. If it were only
technical, it is a cold science. And patients will
be treated like cold cadavers, without feelings
or senses.

Medical Science and Faith


A doctor without ethics and who knows
only science says: It can be done.
A doctor with ethics but knows that science
has character says: Should it be done?

Medical Science and Faith


The work of the doctor is far-reaching and
includes all the stages or cycles of life.
Whether the patient is alive or dead, the
doctor must be there.
Hence, his work starts from birth to death.
Or from womb to tomb.
Or more completely, from erection to
resurrection.

Medical Science and Faith


The Health Care Dimensions:
1. The medical dimension
2.The psychical dimension
3.The volitional dimension
4.The affective dimension
5.The social dimension
6.The spiritual dimension

Medical Science and Faith

The Physician
and the Person Human

Medical Science and Faith


The Beginning of Human life
1. It should be a clear and well defined event that can
actually be pinpointed as the beginning of life. Hence,
when a being starts to exist where before there was
nothing, and now there is something, then that is called a
beginning.
2. It should exhibit the cardinal feature of the beginning of
life, i.e., growth. Hence, movement must be present for
any beginning to happen.

Medical science and Faith


3. If this growth is not interrupted, it will naturally lead to the
subsequent stages of life as we know them, namely: blastocyst,
fetus, neonate, adolescent, adult, old . . . until death.
4. It contains the genetic code (DNA, as mentioned above)
that is characteristic of the human race at large, and also of a
unique particular individual of whom no other human being is a
perfect copy, from eternity . . . until eternity.
5. It is not preceded by another phase, which combines all
of the characteristics from 1-4 above.

Medical Science and Faith


Soul the principle of life.
Life is that which consists in self-motion. Death is its opposite.
Growth is logical indication of life.
Hence, life begins when growth begins.
In conclusion, human life begins when the first indication of growth is known.
This happens when the male sperm is fused with the female egg which is called in
science Fertilization.

Medical Science and Faith

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The case Fertilization vs.


Implantation

Medical Science and Faith


The case of In-Vitro Fertilization:

More than 1 million fertilized


ova
around
the
world
are
preserved in laboratories, mostly
in developed countries.

Medical Science and Faith

The case of lost humanity, lost siblings:

Excess embryos!!!

Medical Science and Faith

The Dignity that is the Human Person


Created in the image of God
Saved by Christ
A Moral and intelligent being
A being with a noble goal to pursue

Medical Science and Faith

Stem Cell Research

Stem Cell Research


It is the process of culturing human
stem cells in laboratories in order to
enable the reproduction of specialized
stem cells for an indefinite period of
time. Once reproduced they are used
to reproduce and rehabilitate
(damaged) cells and make the human
organ or tissue function.

Medical Science and Faith

Sources of stem cells:


1. Natural source: somatic or adult stem
cells from people of all ages not merely from
adult tissues such as skin, muscle, fat, bone
marrow, blood, major organs, brain, nerves, ear,
nose and moth. They are derived without
harming anyone. 45,000 people receive stem
cells annually.
2. Placenta and umbilical cord cell, which
are rich in stem cells. Perfect immunologicalgenetic match for the recipients. They are
undestructive.
3. Ordinary body cells that can be
reprogrammed to revert to pluripotency and

Medical Science and Faith


4. Hypothetical, from pseudo-human organisms such
as parthenotes (eggs that have been induced to divide as if they
were embryos and embryioid bodies.) Could be obtained without
destroying human embryos.
5. Human-animal-hybrid in order to derive stem cells that are
as human as possible (cybrid stem cells). Animal cells are used to
make it into xenotransplants.
6. Human embryo (blastocyst stage, day 5), the best known
pluripotent stem cells manufactured through the IVF or cloning,
hence the name embryonic stem cell. Surprisingly, embryonic stem
cells are prone to immune-rejection unless it is made into designer
embryos for patients. Huge number of human oocytes and embryos
are required. And this type of embryos have the most number of
lethal genetic defects because they are very difficult to control and
are prone to tumor formation or tissue destruction. In the end,
embryonic stem cells are wishful thinking for some patients.

Stem Cell Breakthroughs: Cheers

Bone marrow
Optical lens
Wind pipe (thorax)
Pancreas

Potency of Stem Cell


Totipotent: These stem cells have the ability to
become anything from a complete human being to
any type of tissue cell in animals and plants. (e.g.:
human cloning. cactus)
Multipotent: These are specialized stem cells
found in both adults and stem children.
Responsible for replenishing everything from skin
cells to blood cells through out our life.
Pluripotent: Derived from inner cells of the
blastocyst. It can reproduce a number of tissue
cells but do not have the ability to produce an
entire human.

The Process

Medical
Science
and Faith
Ethics
of Stem
cell:
1. The only way of getting this cell is by killing
the embryos at the blastocyst stage. It is
excluding this early embryo from the human
community.
2. Human embryos have inherent nature,
organization, soul which means they grow up
as human beings do, and never as dogs or cats
or roosters.
Why not use human embryos, they are
going to die soon?
So if they are going to die soon, then, let us
all kill the aged, the terminally-ill, prisoners on

Medical Science and Faith


Case Study:
Mrs. & Mrs. D. Dantes have been married for 7 seven and no matter
how they tried, they cannot produce a baby. They consulted a fertility
doctor with the idea of having a child of their own. The doctor prescribed
IVF. After complying with the requirements of the procedures they were
able to fertilize 10 ova. The first and second tries failed. On the third try,
they succeeded and carried the pregnancy to term and Mrs. Dantes gave
birth to a baby boy. When the child was 7-years old, he kept asking if he
had brothers or sisters. Of course, the parents said none. Later, the couple
after sometime, remembered that indeed they still have 7 more fertilized
ova that were preserved thru a cryogenic process in the lab. They now
realize that indeed they have 7 more babies in the laboratory.
1. If your are Mr & Ms. Dantes, what do you do now that you realize
that you still have other babies?
2. What can you do to save the babies knowing that 7 more are in the
refrigerator? Would you donate your babies for stem cell therapy?

Medical Science and Faith


CONCLUSIONS:
1. Science and Faith are not contradictory.
2. They are allies and they help each other in the explanation of truths.
3. Truths are not opposites. Opinions may be.
4. Science is responsible for advances in medicine. Faith gives direction
and guides in order not to end into out of control. We have to avoid the
slippery slope in science.
5. What can be done should not necessarily be done.
6. Faith gives sanity to scientific advances and development.

Medical Science and Faith


Notes to ponder:
Major violations in thesociety:
business without social responsibility
profit without honor
leisure without conscience
education without character
science without humanity
faith without sacrifice

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