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triple helix: spring 2015

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How should Christian doctors vote?

On 7 May the UK goes to the polls for the general election. Whoever assumes power will have a profound influence in shaping public policy in matters which affect us, our families, churches, patients and colleagues. Some claim that politics and religion should not mix – but God is intimately...

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Assisted suicide

Lord Falconer's Assisted Dying Bill (1) sought to legalise assisted suicide (but not euthanasia) formentally competent adults (aged over 18) with less than six months to live, subject to 'safeguards' under a two doctors' signature model similar to the Abortion Act 1967. The bill had an unopposed second reading in...

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The spectre of excess males

Just as the UK debated the need for a new law to prevent abortion based on gender, the Chinese Government announced its latest population statistics. (1)The report contains the admission that gender imbalance among newborns in China is 'the most serious and prolonged' in the world. (2) At the end...

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Freedom of conscience

At the end of March, the Nursing and Midwifery Council's (NMC) revised version of The Code: Professional standards of practice and behaviour for nurses and midwives came into effect. (1) Most of the changes are good – CMF was able to be very positive about much of the draft Code...

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Three-parent embryos

Britain has become the first country in the world to offer controversial 'threeparent' fertility treatments to families who want to avoid passing on mitochondrial diseases to their children. The House of Commons approved the measure by 382–128 and the House of Lords by 280–48 on 3 and 24 February respectively. ...

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Hope in dark places

Key points Ebola has claimed almost 10,000 lives in West Africa but the epidemic is at last abating Rebuilding health systems will require international assistance for many years to come National health workers continue to praise, thank and serve God in the midst of great suffering The Ebola...

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Malawi revisited

We are now well into our year back in Malawi, where we had previously spent almost half our professional lives. I am working as a volunteer, part time, in an AIDS hospital. My wife Helen is giving physio a break and enjoying gardening. We're both having a ball. Isn't that...

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Becoming the leader you need to be

Professional competency is an act of worship to God and a duty to our patients. Godliness is an important goal as we let Christ mould our hearts and minds to his will for our lives. But we need to pursue a third priority as we endeavour to model our lives...

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Leadership as Christian service

Key points Entering leadership or management is a legitimate form of Christian service. When considering leadership, it is important to examine your gifts and seek opportunities to use them. Leadership should not be pursued for self-aggrandisement or to improve your CV, but should be Christ-like. Christian leaders should provide...

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Leadership in hard times

Key points The NHS is under pressure: tightening resources, increased regulation in a context of demographic change. More than ever, Christian doctors have opportunities to make a difference. Our faith offers examples and principles that can be applied to great effect. Making a difference will include practising age-old Christian...

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Growing to full potential

Key points When we trust in and surrender to God's will, he will take us in surprising directions. Poor communities need transformation through hope for the future, not just medicine alone. Spiritual disciplines such as prayer and Bible reading must go hand-in-hand with practical training and experience. ...

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The demographic time bomb (that probably isn't)

Key points By 2050 there will be around 19 million people over-65 and eight million over 80 in the UK. The widely cherished notion of a good old age contrasts with the increasingly negative perception of an ageing population. Human longevity is identified biblically as a blessing, but like...

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Respect, trust and consent

Key points We can no longer assume a shared worldview with patients; this makes raising spiritual matters a minefield. A triad of respect, trust and consent is central to a healthy relationship between clinician and patient. Love for your patients will mean that you are willing to risk your...

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Philosophy grows no cabbages

My parents had little time for useless abstractions and philosophical reflection. My Dad was very much a surgeon. There were clear jobs to be done, things to be fixed. My Mum was a no-nonsense pragmatic Scot. As Mum once quellingly said, 'philosophy grows no cabbages'. Perhaps you think likewise. Philosophy...

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Face the Future

Following mission work in India, CMF member William Cutting had a wide-ranging internatio nal career with paediatric trainees, but after retirement in 1998 'the paediatrician metamorphosed into a concerned amateur geriatrician' and these first two volumes of a tetralogy arise from his pastoral care for 'seniors', those over 60. ...

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Flourishing

There are times when I wonder what exactly I'm doing as a doctor. If we think the purpose of medicine is to defeat death, the failure rate is 100% – death comes to all of us. What should we understand by health, disease and illness? And what difference does loving...

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Sharing the journey

This is a book of deeply sensitive poems and photographs. David shares his experience during the five years after being diagnosed with incurable cancer until very close to the end of the path. Since publication, David has gone to be with the Lord. Selections from his photographs beautifully illuminate the...

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Eutychus

Lord Carey versus the 'flat earthers' No doubt it was sharp sub editing. But to author a Daily Mail article labelling opponents of creating three-parent embryos as 'flat earthers' does no credit to Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury. Later in the same article, he wrote: 'The truth is...

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Created for relationship

Society seems to place high value on independence. It's one of the things my patients tell me they want most for their lives. And it is important, to a point, but it's not the whole story. God didn't create us to be alone but in relationship to one another....

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