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triple helix: summer 2008

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A farcical footnote in history? - The HFE Bill

As Triple Helix went to press the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill was entering its final Parliamentary stages. We have consistently argued that the proposals for animal-human hybrids, saviour siblings and removing the need for a father for IVF children threaten individual, family and societal life more than any other...

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'Diamond geezer' or ripe for retirement? - The NHS at 60

Where I was in general practice, a 'diamond geezer' was a respected, mature character, perhaps somewhat of a rough diamond, but a genuine survivor. Does this describe the National Health Service at 60, or, rather, should she now be pensioned off? Former Chancellor Nigel Lawson said the NHS was 'the...

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Abortion upper limit - We lost the vote but won the nation

'Abortion fight “will go on after next election”, as MPs defy public opinion to keep 24-week limit', thundered the Daily Mail. 'Abortion debate: MPs are out of touch', concluded the Telegraph. 'Widespread disappointment at vote on abortion', observed the Times. These front page headlines, accompanied by high resolution ultrasound images...

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A perfect storm - Micah's challenge about justice in global health

In her opening address to the World Health Assembly in May,[1] Margaret Chan warned that five converging factors were leading to 'a perfect storm' of a global health crisis: global food price inflation; environmental degradation; the potential for another influenza pandemic; the spread to developing countries of the chronic diseases...

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Advance decisions to refuse treatment - Ethical and practical concerns

Salford City Council has begun promoting cards announcing 'Advance Decisions to Refuse Treatment'.[1] Christened ADRTs by the media, these wallet-sized cards display a prominent cartoon bubble saying 'Stop' and carry NHS and Council logos. They are attached to an explanatory leaflet and are being promoted extensively in GP surgeries, pubs...

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The NHS at 60

The NHS has endured buffetings but has also been a blessing to many. Nick Land is astute in considering the NHS as common grace, minimising the effects of the Fall.[1] Paul Corrigan said that the most important word in the title was the word 'National' because the NHS should provide...

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Let's communicate about abortion

The last Juniors' Forum was all about the need to develop good general communication skills.[1] For the rest of the year though, we're going to look at common pitfalls that arise when communicating specific issues to colleagues and patients. This issue, we're looking at abortion... I'm scared! There are those...

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Conscience in the consultation

On 17 March 2008 the General Medical Council ('GMC') published its guidance Personal Beliefs and Medical Practice. The guidance is long and detailed and needs to be read in full by anyone who hopes to remain on the medical register. Only an outline of a few provisions can be discussed...

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Christ in the Consultation

In the light of March 2008's General Medical Council guidelines on Personal Beliefs and Medical Practice, can it be appropriate for me to talk to patients about Jesus? What are the ethical guidelines? Will I get into trouble with my employer? These recently published guidelines are intended to provide more...

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Is Christian faith good for health?

What impact does spirituality have on physical and mental health? This question has been a matter of debate for as long as human beings have thought about life. Even today those from cultures steeped in pantheism or animism have no doubts as to the influence of the spiritual world on...

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Ex-gays? - A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation (Book Review)

In the words of the authors, this book about the effectiveness of 'Ex-Gay' ministries 'catapults us into the eye of a storm'. On the one side, it is argued that attempts to change somebody's sexual orientation subvert three decades of progress towards 'accepting people for who they are'. Opponents of...

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Making Sense of Medical Ethics - A Hands-on Guide (Book Review)

This book, written jointly by CMF's late President Alan Johnson and his son Paul, has the look and feel of a practical guide to the sometimes confusing field of medical ethics. Its simple layout, diagrams, and illustrations make complicated concepts accessible for medical students, doctors and lay people. The authors...

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Elements of Medical Law (2nd edition) (Book Review)

This short text provides an accessible account of a select range of complex medico-legal issues. It is a much improved second edition, revised and expanded to incorporate recent developments including the Mental Capacity Act. The first chapter examines 'legal issues before birth' and contains a useful overview of the law...

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Miracle at Tenwek (Book Review)

Miracle at Tenwek chronicles the incredible life of Dr Ernie Steury, from a bashful backward farm boy to his leading and developing one of the premier mission hospitals in the world. His humility, gentleness and faithful service inspired me so much after spending a summer shadowing him as a university...

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The Dawkins Delusion (Book Review)

This is a Christian response to Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion, with helpful insights which counter the Dawkins onslaught, including a short history of distinguished scientists who are also Christians, an outline of scientific method, some philosophy of science, advice on how to read the Bible properly, and quite a...

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God at work - Living every day with purpose (Book Review)

Ken Costa is a banker and chairman of Alpha International. The business world is the background for this book. His claim is that the underlying issues discussed are the same for all Christians, whatever their background. I agree. The messages are relevant for all engaged in the difficult challenge of...

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Setting Up Community Health Programmes (Book Review)

What is new in the third edition? First, there are nearly 100 extra pages. Also new is the large number of experts who have commented and assisted in the revision. This book is a practical manual, not a textbook. Chapters cover basic community development issues such as participatory appraisal and...

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Does God Still Do Miracles? - An MD Examines (Book Review)

This excellent short book deserves to be widely read, not least by Christian doctors and church leaders. 'Health and wealth prosperity teaching' flourishes across the world. Bible teachers should understand what the Bible says about wealth, but medical people with pastoral hearts are needed in every congregation to unravel the...

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God's Undertaker - Has Science Buried God? (Book Review)

John Lennox is an Oxford lecturer in mathematics and the philosophy of science. This slim paperback is his much awaited contribution to the science-faith debate that, for many people, has become the key apologetic issue of the day. Lennox provides an excellent overview and is particularly strong on the philosophical...

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Future Perfect? - God, Medicine and Human Identity (Book Review)

The Olympic authorities may ban Oscar Pistorius from competing because his carbonfibre lower limbs give him enhanced power over athletes with the traditional two fleshand- bone limbs. Is this a technical argument, or a deep philosophical and theological issue that begins with trying to establish exactly what it is to...

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Abortion - The Patient's and the Doctor's Dilemma (Book Review)

Dr Chapman has many years' experience as a gynaecologist in Russia, Australia and Britain. In this book, she uses a narrative approach to explore the issue of abortion. A series of vignettes from Dr Chapman's practice lay out the various situations faced by some women, and also the dilemmas faced...

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Eutychus

Doctors reject 'admixed' embryos A bmj.com poll carried out after Parliament had voted in the HFE Bill to create so-called 'admixed' embryos for research showed an almost two thirds majority of doctors were opposed to it. 747 votes were cast and 478 (64%) were against and 269 (36%) for. Eutychus...

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News from abroad

Responding to disasters Once again the world has been hit by tragedies of unimaginable proportions in Burma and China, and once again there is a cry for healthcare workers to respond to the medical consequences. Perhaps we are becoming immune to the needs that scream at us from TV, newspaper...

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Cynicism in the surgery

'What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.' [1] The following might be heard at coffee time in a staff room near you: 'Don't you just hate politicians? They don't do an honest day's work. All they do is invent ridiculous...

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Letters

Organ donation policy Following the brief News Review piece (Triple Helix 2008; Easter:5), respected pro-life campaigner Stuart Cunliffe takes issue Andrew Fergusson says the Christian church should support the principles of organ donation and transplantation and prominent Christian figures should become role models in encouraging organ donation. I disagree. I...

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Forsaken your first love?

A great problem facing Christian doctors is that our responsibilities can become so important that our love for the Lord Jesus, and our desire to achieve what he wants, become of lesser importance to us. Our careers, hobbies, friends, reputations and even our families can become our first love. They...

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