Medical Ethics

Posted: 9th November 2016

To challenge and inspire is part of the remit for our speaker programme for Priory 6 and this certainly was the case with a recent visitor to St Augustine’s Priory.

Mrs Cotton, Deputy Head, Seniors comments on this speaker:

“We were fortunate on 18th October to have Professor Gerry Thomas of Imperial College London come to speak to the Sixth Form in General Religious Education on the topic of Medical Ethics, specifically the ethical issues surrounding the beginning and end of life care.  Under what circumstances would/could abortion be acceptable, under what circumstances might euthanasia be acceptable and the fact that rapid advances in medicine and technology will make ethical considerations around these issues even more complex for younger generations as people live longer and certain conditions and illnesses become more treatable.

Professor Thomas considered the juxtaposition between religious belief and medical advances, and asked the girls to consider the impact of decisions such as whether or not to carry a donor card.  How are family and loved ones of someone who was seriously ill or injured affected by this decision, and care be continued for someone who would not be able to survive without significant medical intervention? We considered how it is possible for the demands of the Hippocratic oath that doctors take, which state that doctors should do everything possible to preserve or save human life, to conflict with the wishes of a patient not to be resuscitated”.


Rebecca Shoesmith and Monica Hanna, Upper VI, added “Professor Thomas came to our school to talk to the Sixth Form students about Medical Ethics. What seemed a basic debate provided enlightenment on the different viewpoints about euthanasia and abortion. ‘In what circumstance is abortion okay?’ was one of the questions Professor Thomas asked. The scientific knowledge we all possess allowed us to instantly say ‘If the birth of the baby will cause the mother harm’. However, Professor Thomas played devil’s advocate in encouraging us to understand religious view points and how God believes harm should not be put upon anyone intentionally.

We continuously provided both viewpoints in reference to these ethical issues, allowing us to truly understand what is ‘ethically correct’.”

Thank you to Professor Thomas for coming and giving such a thought provoking talk.



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