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Title page for ETD etd-11232014-105409


Type of Document Dissertation
Author Bibler, Trevor Mark
Author's Email Address trevmb@gmail.com
URN etd-11232014-105409
Title On miracles and medicine: negotiating religious values at the end of life
Degree PhD
Department Religion
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
LARRY CHURCHILL Committee Chair
ELIZABETH HEITMAN Committee Member
KEITH MEADOR Committee Member
VICTOR ANDERSON Committee Member
Keywords
  • MEDICINE
  • IMAGINATION
  • MEDICAL ETHICS
  • AUGUSTINE
  • END OF LIFE
  • CLINICAL ETHICS
  • MIRACLE
  • JAN PATOCKA
Date of Defense 2014-09-03
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Can American medicine responsibly integrate patients’ religious beliefs into their end-of-life care? What is the clinical ethics consultant’s role in this process? In this dissertation, I attempt to answer these questions by investigating the religious, moral, and epistemic values that influence both 1) the commitments of the clinician and 2) the beliefs of the person hoping for a miracle (“the invocator”). My investigation identifies and explores a fundamental tension between the invocator’s religious imagination and the healthcare worker’s clinical imagination. To help alleviate this tension, the clinical ethics consultant should begin by identifying the different ways in which miracle-invocators employ miracle-language. I argue that miracle-language functions in three distinct (yet overlapping) ways: a political attempt to wrest decision-making authority away from the medical team, a doxological statement of faith in Providence, or an existential expression of inquiry into relationships between self, God, and world. By expressing empathy and openly exploring the moral values that undergird the invocator’s hope for a miracle, the clinical ethics consultant can help medicine recognize the interdependence between overall well-being and religious commitment.
Files
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