Reawakening Medicine’s Twentieth Century Demons?

Gregory Rutecki, MD

A nurse at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Georgia has alleged that detainees have been denied basic and COVID-specific medical care. In her own words, the staff behavior has been representative of a “jarring medical neglect.” Her assertions also included the ominous accusation of “an exorbitant rate of hysterectomies” in the same cohort of immigrant women.[1] In the absence of proof one way or the other, her claims should be characterized as allegations demanding intense, unbiased investigation.

Opportunity in the Midst of Pandemic

Bryan A. Just, MA

We are living in extraordinary times. For most of the world, the global COVID-19 pandemic is at the forefront of people’s minds. The accompanying uncertainty has been almost palpable, and people are craving every bit of information that they can get their hands on. With most sporting events and other activities cancelled or delayed, the “armchair coaches” have had to turn to other interests; now most people have become “armchair epidemiologists,” debating the merits of mask wearing and physical distancing, weighing the risks of trying to reach heard immunity before a vaccine, and analyzing every facet of the government’s response from local to federal levels.

Is Always On Always Good?

Dónal P. O’Mathúna, PhD,

A few weeks ago I took some friends from the U.S. to see Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin, Ireland. The sight-seeing tour of the jail became surprisingly emotional for me as we passed row upon row of cold, dark cells. Many had once held men and women who gave their lives to win the freedoms we enjoy today.

Entering the newer East Wing was a welcome contrast, with its bright and spacious oval chamber. Opened in 1864 by prison reformers, the three stories of cells, iron catwalks, and a large central staircase have made this a popular backdrop for film makers (e.g. The Italian Job, In the Name of the Father). We could see into many cells at once and were told the design allowed a few officers to monitor many prisoners.

Prayers from Sheol

Thomas Middlebrook, PhD

The ability of scientists to offer narrow and specific definitions is one of the great powers of medical professionals as they make their diagnoses and prescriptions. But, using the quote above, Abigail Maguire is concerned to offer lawmakers a more holistic definition of death that is connected to our understanding of human nature. I concur that the reductionism of “biological death” is based on an incomplete picture of who humans are—much like its opposite state “biological life.” According to the Christian tradition, humans have souls (Gen 2:7), the divine image (1:27), and a personal destiny which transcends their death (Rev 20:11–21:27). Therefore, the biblical perspective on life and death may differ in important ways. We might even ask: Will there still be a hard line dividing the two?