“How can you be a doctor to the best of your ability?” asked GP Dr Tim Trussell on May 24. His virtual talk for our lower sixth A-level Philosophy, Ethics and Religious Studies students began with this question, and went on to discuss various aspects of medical ethics.
After introducing the Hippocratic Oath - the code of ethics that doctors agree to abide by - he talked about how, for many in his profession, the duties of a doctor as set out by the General Medical Council are more widely accepted now. These duties are designed to engender trust between doctor and patient. They include providing patients with clear information, acting promptly in the interests of patient safety, and the importance of acting with integrity.
Dr Trussell said that, while the duties of a doctor are of paramount importance, they are unrelated to his religious beliefs, so the themes of Catholic Social Teaching are also significant for him. During his talk, he reflected on these themes, including care for God’s creation, life and dignity of the human person, and solidarity. This last theme, Dr Trussell believes, makes us aware of our responsibility to others, especially people who are suffering.
This engaging talk ended after Dr Trussell outlined some of the ethical considerations around do-not-resuscitate orders. He said his Christian faith helps him to see each patient as a human being and ensure that everything he does promotes the dignity of that person.