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The man and the value of life. WGN. University of Cincinnati radio is an internationally known leader discussing the ethical technical and legal issues surrounding the extension of life through advances in medicine. The lectures are from a symposium sponsored by the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine as a part of the university's 100 50th anniversary celebration. Today we presented two distinguished lecturers. Later on in the program the Right Reverend Roger W. Blanchard bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of southern Ohio will give a religious perspective of the value of life. Our first speaker is Dr. Michael DeBakey famed heart transplant surgeon from Baylor University
Medical School in Houston. We will discuss a medical perspective of the value of life. Dr. DeBakey will be introduced by Dr. Charles herring U.S. professor of neurology and program chairman of the man and life symposium. Here now is Dr. Eric. To baking. Our first Canadian born panelist. Born in Louisiana. Took his medical. Undergraduate training at Tulane University and holds degrees from the University of Lille. France. Brussels gand. After that era. He had been professor of surgery to Lane. And then. Later Baylor. University College of Medicine. Where within the last several years he's become vice president for medical affairs. And has taken on a lot of new
responsibility. Besides all of it was that he had before. Many of you heard of Dr. DeBakey. And some of his national and international. Work. He was chairman of the president's commission on heart disease cancer and stroke. Whose work has developed into the concept of the regional medical centers. To bring in the people directly the advances in medicine. Which bids fair to reorder the practice of medicine in that state. You may have seen recently that he. Had the presidents use award of the Presidents Medal of Freedom. For this and other work. A master surgeon is fame Laden has been concerned mainly with transplants particularly look at those that restore. Circulation. Of great importance among these. Are those that bring in improved blood supply that Master organ the brain.
The best positions as young man work the 18 hour day give. An hour or two in either direction. Dr. DeBakey has continued such a program. To the all his colleagues. And I'm afraid at times with their jealousy. I think the baby was another. Tham. With. That daring. Thing with members of the panel. Ladies and gentleman. We've heard from the Great Commission. That this thing wished humanist. An eminent scientist. All of whom as sound thinkers and renowned scholars. Have obviously given serious thought during their lustrous careers to man and the value of human
life. This enigmatic subject has been thrust into sharp prominence recently. By the young president of the key moments of medical science. In such a field that an ethics organ transplantation and mechanical cardiac assisted. First let me warn you. That I have no clean definition proclamations to offer today. The same not even moral ethical and philosophic problems that have plagued man for centuries. Have arisen repeatedly in my own mind. And as I've gone about my daily activities as a physician. Although numerous theories have been advanced. The purpose and role of man on earth and his fate afterlife remain conjectural. The value of human life has varied from one century to another.
From one country to another. And from one culture to another. It has even varied within a single era. And a single country. And in a culture under different circumstances. War Peace health illness to mention only a few. It has been modified by a natural evolutionary processes including social economic political and scientific changes. We have an extremely old subject for meditation and speculation. The value of human life has concerned poets prophets philosophers. And humanistic scholars for centuries. The religionist looks upon life as preparation for the hereafter at least some of the head honest as a fleeting opportunity for pleasure. The
Nihilist as a brief purposeless sojourn on earth. The position on the other hand considers such a subject within his province are concerned only as a practical problem involving crucial decisions in his daily career. Having having taken the Hippocratic oath the position its players are all human life not to evaluate its merit according to earthly accomplishments. A recent medical discoveries have forced the physician to reexamine. A time honored clinical definitions of life and death. The answer to the question when does life begin is crucial to the morrow and medical criteria for abortion. And to the propriety of actively supporting the survival of a monstrously deformed infant. Aren't
transplantation has forced the physician to re-examine the question when does life and is the answer when the heart ceases to beat. Or is it when the brain ceases permanently to function. Is human life merely the mechanical functioning of certain bodily organs. Or does it require the normal functioning of the mind. Since man's primary distinction from lower animals is his capacity for reason. Does human life still exist. Once this capacity. Has been irreversibly lost. These are the pragmatic questions that face today's physician daily. The position has always been confronted with critical moral decisions and has generally found the wisdom and the guidance. That the situation demanded. Whether it be the refusal on religious grounds
of a family to allow a blood transfusion for a patient or the plead to discontinue active support of a patient terminally ill with an acutely painful disease or with irreparable brain damage. The physician is not usually made such We need decisions alone but rather in consultation with colleagues and the patient's family as well as religious and other family counseling. In this respect he has followed the social and legal precedent of the jury system. Designed to provide wide representation of opinion and knowledge and to apportion responsibility for the decision. The Visitation is guided to by public opinion by society has a barrage of accepting or rejecting the conduct of any of its segments because the medical profession has maintained a
high code of ethics. And has acted in the best interest of society. Society has granted to physicians its sanction and its trust. The physicians in Spain by tradition and by training is to prolong life. To concentrate all his energies scientific knowledge and skills. In the effort to combat suffering and to restore physical and mental health. He must assume the life entrusted to his care is worthy of being saved. Else his professional oath itself is vitiated. His responsibility is to try to give his patient the opportunity to fulfill his potential in life. Not to evaluate the patient's achievements. Before or after his medical ministry. Today medical science has provided good evidence. That by
transplantation of a vital organ from one human body to another. And otherwise the patient can be given a new opportunity to fulfill his potential in a useful happy life. Faced with such a possibility when asked to determine. When it is permissible to remove a functioning or going one body for transplantation to another. If they are going to be transplanted as a heart we must determine when death has occurred in the donor. IMO a precise definition of death has become unnecessary because with our present scientific knowledge. We can maintain the viability of an isolated heart outside the human body for about a half an hour when the scientific evidence is clear. That a patient has suffered irreparable brain damage. But that is heart and other organs can continue to function mechanically
for an indefinite time. The physician must resolve the dilemma. Should he allow two patients one with a reparable brain damage the other with incurable heart disease or should he try to save one life by seeking to transplant a healthy normally functioning heart from the cerebral patient to the one that is mentally alert and has a chance for survival. The inescapable conclusion is that sustaining respire to a function mechanically is not justified. In a patient who is no longer alive in any rational sense of the word. From such reasoning a murder is a criteria of conduct of the physician. So long as he can achieve his primary objective. Of relieving suffering prolonging life and comforting the incurably ill without violating a code of ethics based on the Golden Rule
the physician need not preoccupy himself with the value of human life. Despite the furor in the public press and on the professional days about the marlin ethical dilemma of organ transplantation. I can tell you. That those immediately concerned with the crucial decisions the family of the donor. And the recipient and his family reach their conclusions with remarkably clear thinking. In the early moments after the tragic accident the family of the victim is naturally. Eager that every means available regardless of how difficult impractical or costly we use to save the life of our love. Once however they have witnessed the greatest tragedy. Insensate body and recognize that no human effort can restore the victim to his former mental and physical state. They
except the in of it inevitability of human death with admirable composure. I have been deeply moved by parents. Who have called me in time of great personal anguish to offer the heart of a fatally injured child for transplantation to a critically ill patient. The transcendence of the humanitarianism of their personal grief is indeed inspiring. The physician's duty to complet is applicable not only when a patient is suffering from curable from curable illness but also when he faces inevitable death. The patient's departure should be made as comfortable and peaceful for him and as traumatic for his family as possible. Members of the donor transplantation team are particularly conscious of this obligation as they should be. It is interesting that man actually does little to prepare for death.
That is capable companion of life. Although we pay lip homage to its inevitability. We rarely consider it a serious possibility for ourselves. Or our loved ones. So long as health. The controversy over moral and ethical considerations of art and transplantation so hotly debated arose out of the tension created between the rights of the individual. Which Western civilization is always considered paramount and the rights of society. Without which the life of the individual is virtually meaningless. John Don's assertion that no man is an island into himself is more applicable than ever today when the entire universe seems to have shrunk into a microcosm. Although the physician's first obligation is to his patient he also has a
responsibility to society. The medical scientist must in fact sometimes will weigh the rights of the individual against the rights of society and is undertaking a new clinical procedures. The person in the position doesn't weigh the social worth of a patient. Gradations of medical treatment according. To the convict is due the same quality of care as a brilliant and productive scientist insofar as the facilities and professional manpower are accessible to them. The physician doesn't consider it here. His prerogative. To determine whether the individual should subserve society or society the individual rather tries to minister to both. And to do disservice to either. The €2000 commanded by self.
Remains tenable to the physician's obligation is to help his patient if you can but in any case. And you do know. This precept for any new clinical definition of death. And any fears of a heart or other organ may be removed from a patient for transplantation before everything possible has been done to save the life of the donor. Are almost totally imaginary. The dangers of legal definitions based on such considerations. And incompatible with real life situations. Are far greater than the risk of violations of medical or ethical violations or medical ethical codes by the profession. As we all know laws do not prevent violations. Ethical codes are intended only as
guides to proper action. And the physician's conscience remains the ultimate guide in all human conduct. A real danger to the medical ethical code which is based on compassion and integrity and which has served so many generations of physicians notably. To be abrogated in favor of legal imperatives that refuse to yield to individual circumstances. The acquisition of new knowledge. And the achievement of new technological advances require constant re-examination and revision of our attitudes and codes of conduct. This is already been alluded to by the previous speakers. Whereas our predecessors were inclined to accept the moment of life or death as predestined. Modern man can exercise some degree of free will in these events. I was delighted
to do hear us emphasize his belief and we were most joining him in the same effort. By means of artificial insemination. For example. It is now possible to control of events in the Creation of human life. Science has in fact brought us to the threshold of the secrets of life. We can also control to some extent. The time of death and can sometime prevent it. By a previously impossible or unknown heroic measure such as cardiac massage and mouth to mouth resuscitation electro electrical defibrillation renal dialysis organ transplantation and mechanical cardiac assisters. I can assure you that my experience is not unique in this regard. But many physicians and surgeons who are particularly in the field of work
have had the experience of seeing patients to virtually any legal definition brought back to life and brought back to Earth to a full life. Most of these admittedly require money and manpower at present. But the time. In my opinion when they and even more remarkable life saving procedures will be available to all of our people. Society must. As always. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of such investments against its other needs and must give medical science its mandate. In so doing have a it should not forget. That Heller. The goal of all medical research is probably to sound disinvestment any people can make it. For it is essential not only to the integrity of the nation as a
whole its national defense economic stability and intellectual cultural and scientific achievements but also. To the fulfillment of its individual members. Thank you. Thank thing. Ah you've been listening to a medical perspective on man and the value of life as viewed by famed heart transplant surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey. Our second speaker on today's program is the Right Reverend Roger W. Blanchard bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of southern Ohio who will offer a religious perspective on the value of life. Again he will be introduced by Dr. Charles de aring professor of neurology at the University of Cincinnati Medical College and a program chairman of the man and life symposium here is Dr. erring bishop.
Roger W. Blanchard was born in Brockton Massachusetts who took his ABN Boston University. Where he had a football scholarship. He received theological degreed and the pice couple theology school in Cambridge from Lake Erie college in from pinioned college in succession then he was curated St. Stephen's church live in Massachusetts Rector St. Peters Church Beverly Massachusetts rector of the Calvary Church in Columbia Missouri. Dean St. John's Cathedral Jacksonville Florida Florida. Bishop Coe agitator. And then Bishop of the Diocese of southern Ohio since 1959. I'm happy to report that his interest in the ministry was sparked by a physician.
Whom he says. He learned the meaning of service or taught him the meaning of service. He isn't much trouble with narrow distinctions about the church's sacred and secular roles. His grasp of ethics and his strength and modesty led the committee to request him to join this unusual panel. Bishop Blanchard will give us a theological vision. Of the. Ah of the. Doctor hearing and the distinguished members of the panel. In the beginning God created man in his own image in the image of God created he
him male and female created He them. And God saw that everything that he had made and it was very good. Here in the words of the Book of Genesis lifted to new heights in space and application. A few weeks ago as a result of the technological explosion of our day as astronauts circled the moon is the account in mythological form of the beginning of life on Earth. Man created in the image of God and Yalit with a knowledge. Choice and responsibility within the limitations of his creature. The US is set
free according to the Judeo Christian belief to worship his creator or and to love his neighbor as himself. And there are parallels to this account of the beginning of life in other great world religions. The hope of the Humanist is found in freedom and justice for himself and his fellow man in this and future generations. So now one finds meaning in life. In seeking the fulfillment of his own potential and at the same time and enabling all others to fulfill their potential. A corollary to this would be that an individual cannot fully
know the meaning of his life. Nor fulfill himself. Apart from the social order of which he is a part. Nor can that social order find its meaning or fulfill its creative purpose until it recognizes the ultimate worth of each individual. I acknowledge that this is an adequate and incomplete theological platform on which to establish the religious perspective for so vast a subject as we are considering today. But there is no time to do more than this by way of introduction to the simple single thread of thought concerning man as person
that I will pursue this afternoon in dealing with a few of the truly amazing discoveries of this technological age in which all knowledge has doubled over the last twenty years and will probably double again in the next seven. As you know from previous presentations we are limiting ourselves to the field of biological developments but even saw over the weeks that I have immersed myself in this subject. I have found myself floundering more and more in the overwhelming mass of literature or in the field. And even more significant in the amazing contributions and consequent demand for value judgments in the application of this knowledge for the good of all
men. By this I mean in the light of the theological premises set forth so briefly. How can this new knowledge enable a person to live the good life and enable others to do likewise. Here again I must ask you to allow me to beg the question in defining the good life. As that which enables a person to soul live with himself and his fellow man that there may be justice righteousness and creative peace. And so it is the concept of person that I would focus on as we consider of the religious perspectives on man and the value of life.
Man and the value of life
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#3 (Reel 1)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Identifier: 69-22-3 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Duration: 00:29:00
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Chicago: “Man and the value of life; #3 (Reel 1),” 1969-04-25, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 23, 2023,
MLA: “Man and the value of life; #3 (Reel 1).” 1969-04-25. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 23, 2023. <>.
APA: Man and the value of life; #3 (Reel 1). Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from