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triple helix: summer 2011

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Faith matters in healthcare encounters

The case of a Christian GP reprimanded by the General Medical Council for talking about his faith to a patient (1), (2) has revived interest in the appropriateness of faith-based discussion during a medical consultation. Dr Richard Scott was accused of 'harassment' and told by the medical regulator that...

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Missing midwives report

According to a recent report, (1) there is a global shortage of midwives that is having a significant negative impact on maternal and child health, setting back progress towards Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5. (2) In most parts of hte developing world, as few as 6% of women have...

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The BBC documentary 'Choosing to die'

The BBC's decision to screen a man's dying moments at the Dignitas suicide facility in a documentary fronted by Terry Pratchett have come in for heavy criticism. Over 900 complaints were received by the BBC and a group of five peers wrote to The Times complaining of BBC bias. (1) ...

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Southern cross collapse

As Southern Cross, the country's biggest independent provider of care homes for the elderly collapsed, the 31,000 residents of its homes, their families and carers face a hugely uncertain future. All this because of a mixture of bad management and market speculation. But unlike the banks, which received billions in...

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Welsh morning-after pill scheme

Since April this year (1) the 'morning-after pill' has been available free from pharmacies across Wales, while still costing about £25 in the rest of the UK. Over 700 high street pharmacies can now provide it, even to girls as young as 13, without consent from a parent or guardian....

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23 week babies - the price of life

The recent BBC documentary 23 week babies - the price of life represented six months of filming on the neonatal intensive care unit at Birmingham Women's Hospital. Brilliantly filmed and produced, the programme powerfully illustrated the conflicting emotions of parents confronted with a baby struggling for life at 23 weeks....

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medical mission - changing the world together

You don't have to go to Timbuktu to be a medical missionary. God expects each of us to be his ambassadors wherever we are called. 'Exceedingly good cakes' is a well-known strap line from the famous Mr Kipling and it's a simple brand we all understand. But what sort of...

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stillbirths: tragedy and controversy

New figures from The Lancet reveal the tragedy of the scale of stillbirths, estimated at around 3 million worldwide, every year; more than 8,200 stillborn babies a day. This vast number eclipses deaths from AIDS/HIV and many other diseases that get far more money. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 98% of these are...

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Cross-cultural challenge

A young woman was brought to the health centre unconscious after her family had found her collapsed on her way to work. She failed to respond even when a lumbar puncture was undertaken without anaesthetic. All results from the tests which were available were normal. As she was transferred from...

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Learning from our suffering

When I gave up working as a consultant surgeon to be pastor of a church, my family members were appalled: 'What a waste!' they said,'Think of all the lives you were saving as a surgeon!' But I had to tell them that I never saved a single life. All our...

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I never thought...

When I was at medical school, I fully expected God to call me to overseas mission. Yet that call never came. I had wanted to specialise in respiratory medicine since I decided to become a doctor, but it had never occurred to me that I would be called to an...

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a curious case

The setting of this encounter is Lebanon, which was under the joint control of Rome and Syria; Jesus was able to stay with some Jews who lived there. He had gone away from Israel for a break but even so word got around, and this woman managed to push her...

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The importance of prayer

Prayer must be the heartbeat of our Christian lives. Yet a lack of uninterrupted time coupled with secular work environments conspires to limit opportunity. Guilt felt at not being able to pray can be insidious and heavy. I hope the following Scriptures and reflections are of use to those struggling. When...

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you're teaching my child what?

With children as young as seven being taught in class that touching their clitoris or penis gives them a nice feeling without warning that such touching can be inappropriate (or even constitute sexual abuse depending on who is doing the touching), it's not only Christian parents who are becoming concerned...

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AIDS action & Church communities confronting HIV & AIDS

These two books aim to challenge, encourage and enable readers to repond practically to the challenge of HIV and AIDS in their own communities and globally. The books take similar overall themes - what is HIV? How can churches and individual Christians respond to the needs for prevention, care and...

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Healthcare allocation & justice

Around the world, demand for healthcare is growing and it is increasingly recognised that we cannot simply increase the proportion of national wealth spent on services. Difficult decisions are thus inevitable, and the aim o fthis pamphlet is to show how Catholic social teaching can be brought to bear on...

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On my way to heaven

Having only sneaked into the 2006 National Student Conference by virtue of my wife still being at medical school, I was greately encouraged by Mark Ashton's talks on Matthew - well at least by the two I managed to hear before leaving early to start a week of nights! Only a...

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A pathologist looks at healing

David Powell qualified in medicine in 1952. He was awarded the MD (Commend) Ed 1959, FRCPath 1974 and FRCP 1981. I say this to make the point that David is not a new boy to medicine. He has been around a long time and has given very careful consideration to...

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Better never to have been

This isn't a new book, but it is generating increasing discussion in university departments and elsewhere: hence this review. The author's argument is that the only way to prevent suffering is for people not to exist, so the extinction of the human race is beneficial. There is no...

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1-2-1 discipleship

In 1-2-1 Discipleship, Dillon aims to explain what discipleship is and gives practical guidelines for discipling others. The book contains numerous references to scripture and examples from Dillon's own experience. I was surprised to read a section on learning preferences that I had also come across during a General...

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Never let me go (DVD)

Based on Kazuo Ishiguro's Booker nominated 2005 novel, this film features Keira Knightly, Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield as Ruth, Kathy and Tommy, three young people who spend their childhood at a seemingly idyllic English boarding school. However as they grow into young adults, they find that they have to...

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eutychus

The hidden costs of alcohol abuse A recent survey shows that 14% of Britons admit to having injured themselves while drunk; 11% have seen a friend or relative's relationship end because of alcohol abuse; and 9% have taken time off work after heavy drinking. Young people are disproportionately likely to suffer...

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conflict abounds

Conflict abounds; that was Habakkuk's appraisal of the situation in his day. Many Christian doctors today would identify with Habakkuk's feelings. As they survey the political discussion on the future of the NHS, they ponder on what kind of health service they will be working in when the dust finally...

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