Advocates present ‘Religious Liberty Issues in Healthcare’ on legal and cultural challenges in healthcare | News | Law School | Media Pyro


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On October 26, the School of Law’s Religious Liberty Initiative and the Nicola Center for Arts and Culture hosted the panel discussion “Religious Issues in Health Care” in the McCartan Courthouse. The discussion featured a panel of distinguished speakers from a variety of fields, including nonprofit and faith-based organizations, higher education, and health care. Panelists shared their unique opinions and personal experiences on a number of issues, from legal challenges facing faith-based health care systems, to current issues of medical licensure and law enforcement, to cultural challenges that affecting medical students and doctors, and protecting the religious rights of religious minorities, especially Orthodox Jews.

Peter D. Banko, President and CEO of Centura Health; Dr. Lydia Dugdale, director of the Columbia Center for Health Sciences; Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz, president of Chayim Aruchim; and Louis Brown, executive director of Christ Medicus Foundation. O. Carter Snead, professor of law at Notre Dame Law School and director of the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Ethics, moderated the discussion.

Lefkowitz began the panel discussion by discussing how her Orthodox Jewish faith has influenced her work at Chayim Aruchim, also known as the Center for Culturally Sensitive Health Advocacy and Counseling. “For me, my work is guided by the Torah, the Jewish Bible,” he said. “The Bible teaches us that the sanctity of human life is greater than all our earthly possessions. This also applies to a person with serious cancer or someone who has died from an illness or accident. The bottom line is that life has real value – all lives.”

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Chayim Aruchim, which translates to “long life,” aims to help members of the Jewish community make end-of-life health care decisions according to their beliefs. Through his work, Lefkowitz has provided families with halachic guidance on a variety of health issues, such as brain disease and palliative care, two of which he discussed in his speech. He spoke volumes about the importance of values ​​in health care: “One should look for a doctor who matches the values ​​of the patient. The United States of America has the most famous medical facilities in the world. But, when it is decided that it is not possible to save the patient, here the religious traditions and the modern traditions of leisure meet.”

Lefkowitz also recognized the diversity of perspectives and religious practices that shape approaches to health care and, therefore, the patient experience. He said medical schools should play a role in sharpening cultural awareness among health care professionals. “For me the most important lessons that a medical professional can learn is that there are many values ​​and the most important thing is to respect and treat the patient according to the patient’s values. I know in medical school, they teach techniques. I don’t know whose ethics they are teaching,” he said, drawing laughter from the audience. “If they really want it [students] to teach ethics, we need to bring people from different backgrounds to teach their ethics. That way, they will understand that medical care must be given in a strict manner,” continued Lefkowitz. “Each faith must have its own Chayim Arukim.”

Banko echoed some of Lefkowitz’s comments, adding that health and religious values ​​play an important role in how health agencies approach their services. “Judeo-Christian love is a renaissance in health care, and it guides our programs on pain and suffering,” he said. “Everyone deserves to be born well and die well. All lives are sacred. All people are children of God.

Banko serves as President and CEO of Centura Health, a Christian-based organization within CommonSpirit Health, the largest national Catholic health care system in the United States, as one of its two Sponsors. “We asked our friends why they work there. One, the mission; two, work with amazing people; three, it affects their neighbors; and four, care mind-body-spirit or ‘whole person’ care, I think it’s different from other organizations. Spiritual care providers are part of the care team. ‘Whole person’ care [means] the ability to meet all human needs, not just the physical. Taking care of people is more important than giving care all the time,” he said.

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In keeping with its mission to deliver integrated and consistent care, Centura Health has begun to take significant steps toward professional training for physicians and staff leaders. Like Lefkowitz, Banko also acknowledged the importance of ethics committees in health care institutions as a way to ensure that health professionals and systems are providing culturally appropriate care for patients. “We need more faith in what we do – faith in business, faith in law, faith in engineering. We need to talk in an inclusive way,” said Banko.

At the end of his speech, Banko called on the Religious Liberty Clinic to file an amicus brief with the Colorado Court of Appeals on behalf of the Catholic Medical Association and the Coptic Medical Association of North America. The amicus brief sought to protect the fundamental right of health care workers and faith-affiliated health systems to exercise their religious responsibilities.

In response to Banko’s comments, Brown said, “I am concerned that more and more governments will seek to monitor, harass, and shut down health care providers and professionals in their our country. It’s not just a violation of basic civil rights, but it’s also an issue of access to health care in America.”

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In his speech, Brown highlighted the importance of religious freedom as it relates to health care and expressed the potential concerns and potential negative impacts on the health and well-being of patients if they choose to medical facilities in the United States to limit religious freedom. “It is my contention that concerted efforts to undermine mental health and religious freedom at the federal and state levels, if successful, will make Catholic health care illegal in the United States, and lose, over time, millions of patients, some of whom are the most vulnerable and most in need of quality care,” said Brown.

Brown often defined religious freedom as the “right to love,” which led him to encourage attendees to consider different motivations for helping people; These motivations are closely related to approaches to health care. “If we take religious freedom and mental health out of health care, we’re taking it away caritas (love) from the health system and replace it with a financial program, [but] Patience is not a financial opportunity. A patient is a person who deserves my love and care – for their life and their rights,” he said.

Brown leads the Christ Medicus Foundation (CMF), a Christ-centered Catholic health agency where Catholic teachings are central to its mission and core values. Through its Catholic health care community CURO, the ministry provides Catholic health training, online life courses, and spiritual direction through its Spiritual Health Program, launched earlier this year; These services were, in part, influenced by the work of Dr. Bob Schuchts and the John Paul II Healing Center. “We see health as an expression of God’s love for the sick and the suffering,” Brown said.

Like Banko, Brown focused on the care of the “whole person” and how such care can offer patients therapeutic benefits that go beyond physical health and well-being. “We need the expansion of faith-based and Catholic health care. Catholic health care, I believe, is the best health care in the United States because it was created by the The human body is God,” Brown said. “Catholic health care — rooted in biology, science, and human truth — is the best health care that always produces the best health outcomes. .”

After Brown spoke, Dugdale moderated the panel discussion. He serves as a practicing physician, primary care physician, clinical ethicist, and director of the Columbia Center for Clinical Practice. As the only commissioner not representing a religious organization, Dugdale was able to offer his views on health care issues from a different vantage point.

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“I’ve worked in several large academic health care facilities that are secular, non-denominational,” he said. “What drives us is not human rights, not life, not love. It’s about being at the forefront of medicine. The world I live in is a world of power and technology and moneymaking, not a world characterized by patient love.”

Dugdale provided a bigger picture of how academic health care institutions approach their role in patient care. He had a very different approach to what his fellow organizers were talking about – caring in a religious manner. According to Dugdale, academic health care facilities demonstrate patient care by focusing their efforts on “having the best technology, cutting-edge methods and procedures.” Completing the latest medical treatments and medications is recognized as the best patient care.

Dugdale mentioned two cases that, in his view, threatened religious freedom in the world’s leading institutions. In one example, an evangelical medical student was assigned to care for a terminally ill patient whose religious beliefs differed from the student’s; therefore, the student, the patient, and the patient’s family prayed, sang and read together. When the dean of students found out about this, he canceled the student’s activities and told him that participating in religious activities and rituals is not the job of a priest. He ordered the student to stop working; if not, he will be sanctified. In a second example, a pro-life student club at an international facility experienced a major setback and was eventually closed.

Commenting on the group’s diversity, Dugdale said, “From the point of view of an artist in a non-religious church, everything we’ve said represents the diversity of the American experience. It’s not there is a one way approach to health care. There is no one way to learn medicine. In fact, what is accepted and accepted in some areas may not be the case in others.

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Reflecting on the panel discussion, Hadiah Mabry — a first-year student at Notre Dame Law School and one of the Program on Church, State & Society’s first Murphy Fellows — shared his thoughts on the dynamic relationship between religious freedom and human rights: “Religion. Freedom creates space for dialogue because it is built on respect and the desire to see the inner power of another person by allowing them to choose for themselves, even for the matters that matter. Without the ability to see the good in another person, it becomes very difficult to work for justice or peace.

You can watch the full recording of the event on the Religious Liberty Initiative’s YouTube channel here: Ethical Issues in Health Care.


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