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triple helix: spring/summer 2007

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Freedom from slavery - Applying the challenge from Wilberforce

On 25 March 1807, two hundred years ago, the British Parliament finally voted to make slave trading illegal throughout the Empire. The film Amazing Grace graphically recounts how a disparate group of campaigners, led by William Wilberforce, caused an entire nation to confront its guilt and to act. The title...

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Cannabis – an Independent view? - Broadsheet comes clean at last

After ten years of campaigning for the decriminalisation of Britain's most widely available drug, the Independent newspaper has decided to come clean. In dramatic fashion, its 18 March front page announced an apologetic U-turn over its position on the legalisation of cannabis.[1] Many of us recall their 1997 campaign: 'Today,...

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Euthanasia - Latest developments in the campaign for legalisation

Over the last ten years the British pro-euthanasia lobby has very effectively used high-profile 'hard cases' of motor neurone disease to champion its cause: Annie Lindsell, Reginald Crew, John Close and, most famously, Diane Pretty. She sought her husband's assistance in her suicide, and in 2002 took her case to...

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Human-animal hybrids - Government must maintain its proposed prohibition

In 2005 the Department of Health consulted widely on the future of the Human Fertilisation Embryology (HFE) Act, and CMF made a substantial Submission.[1] One of the many questions asked concerned creating human hybrid and chimera embryos, which would contain genetic material from both humans and non-human animals. Of the...

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Slave children - We need another Wilberforce to free the child slaves of today

A slave is a person who is owned by another and is forced to work in degrading conditions. Despite the supposed abolition of slavery in the United Kingdom, we still house many trafficked individuals, who are the slaves of today. Less well known than trafficking of adults, the United Nations...

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Wilberforce

As MP elected for Hull in 1780, William Wilberforce became the youngest member of the House of Commons. Over the next 53 years he also became its principal spokesman against slavery. On 22 February 1807 the Commons voted to abolish the slave trade and 1 May 2007 marked the bicentenary...

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Breaking Point

Emotional breakdown never arises out of the blue. There is always a background to it and usually there are warning signs that, if heeded, might prevent a precipitous grind to a halt. Personality Traits 'I really can't let them down!' Perfectionism Solo playing, reluctant to...

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Be perfect therefore...

One of the most poignant moments of my professional life was when I met a nurse who was hugely experienced both in the west and in some of the poorest and most challenging parts of the world. She had worked hard to treat sick and deprived people and to promote...

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Modernising Medical Careers

The implementation of the Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) programme is in a mess. Thousands of SHOs, amongst them many CMF juniors, are facing major career disruption and ongoing uncertainty. How did things end up like this? What's happening now? And how can we as CMF members respond? Reform Back in...

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Dissociative Identity Disorder

Case History Suzie (name changed) is now a GP, and has given consent for this case history to be published. Her childhood was affected by neglect of her fundamental attachment needs because of physical and psychotic illness in both parents; by the trauma of witnessing domestic violence as her mother...

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Thomas Winterbottom : abolitionist physician

Thomas Masterman Winterbottom died in 1859. He was 94 years old – the oldest doctor in Europe. Shops shut. The local Corporation and thousands of citizens turned out to mourn him. In its obituary the Newcastle Journal noted that Winterbottom was 'as good a man as ever was born in...

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Mad, Bad or Sad?

At my medical school more than thirty years ago, psychiatry viewed religious faith as a sign of mental illness. William Sargent had just retired, but I once heard him lecture on his famous book, Battle for the Mind, and had to watch film of a Pentecostal service intercut with African...

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Faith, Spirituality, and Medicine - Toward the making of the healing practitioner (Book Review)

Imagine working in a country where 77% of people want their physician to address their spiritual concerns, 61% say that faith is the most important influence in their lives and almost 50% want their physician to pray with them. That country is the United States of America. Faith, Spirituality,...

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For What It's Worth - A Call to 'No Holds Barred' Discipleship (Book Review)

This book is an honest account from the heart of a man given over to God's service. Simon is not a doctor. He went to Burundi in 1998 as an inexperienced missionary and has since worked humbly with the local church. He has learned many lessons on cost, commitment and...

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Heresies - Against progress and other illusions (Book Review)

Heresies comprises 24 essays, originally written for the New Statesman. The heresies discussed are intellectual and cultural ones and Gray himself does not profess any religion. The essays fall into three groups: progress, terrorism, and political commentary. Gray adopts a worldviews approach in many of these essays, acknowledging similarities between...

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Integrating Spirituality in Health and Social Care - Perspectives and Practical Approaches (Book Review)

This book, comprising four sections, gives an excellent overview of what is understood by 'spirituality' and 'spiritual care' in the UK NHS. The first section explores published literature to help us understand what is meant by 'spirituality' in the context of health care provision. I felt comfortable with the authors'...

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Looking for Answers - A Christian in Medicine and Law (Book Review)

Looking for Answers is an intriguing autobiography of a Catholic paediatrician – awarded a papal knighthood for his work – who is also a magistrate, political activist and founder member of several charities. The early chapters review his childhood, training and paediatric work. Cole has lived through major changes in...

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Religions, Culture & Healthcare - A Practical Handbook for Use in Healthcare Environments (Book Review)

This book aims to present an overview of religious groups to help deliver sensitive care to patients. The first three chapters provide a more theoretical justification as to why this should be necessary in contemporary Britain. The rest of the volume is a well-organised list of stereotypical attitudes and behaviour. ...

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Pure - Sex and relationships God's way (Book Review)

How often and how well does the church teach young people about sex and relationships? It is refreshing to see a book that uses a sensitive biblical approach. This short and readable book is split into six chapters with excellent biblical referencing: Pure Perfection (Genesis 1 and 2), Pure Rebellion...

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The Naked Emperor - Darwinism exposed (Book Review)

This book chronicles the author's personal journey with Darwinism and is a fascinating summary of the main problems of standard Darwinian evolution. Latham is a GP in the Outer Hebrides and a CMF member. Accepting Darwinism at school and university, he 'enjoyed disputing with Christians about evolution…to me it was...

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Eutychus

Politics, faith and medicine Julian Tudor Hart is a GP best known for his 1971 inverse care law (patients with the greatest need tend to receive the poorest healthcare). He reflects on the influence of his own beliefs: 'I was such a big public figure as a Communist and an...

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Letters

NICE guidance Jeffrey Stephenson, a consultant in palliative medicine in Devon, qualifies Adrian Treloar's challenge to NICE guidance about prescribing for Alzheimer's. I agree with Adrian Treloar (Triple Helix 2007; Winter: 5) that, when faced with difficult decisions, we must remember our vocation and that the patient is our first concern....

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A gift from Chernobyl?

We listen to the oncologist's verdict. 'Blood cancer - leukaemia.' Immediately we grasp the implications. Eight to nine months' treatment…mother to stay in hospital, too…chemotherapy …radiation…75% survival. Why, Lord, why our child? Is this punishment? And if so, do we deserve it? Yet we believe the statement of Jesus (Luke...

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