The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
2.210 Ashbel Smith Building
301 University Boulevard
Galveston, Texas 77555-1311
Ronald A. Carson, director of the Institute for the Medical Humanities at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, has helped illuminate some of the most difficult issues in modern medicine. With a background in theology, philosophy, and literature, he is able to approach complex problems in medicine and health from multiple perspectives. He has held consultations and visiting professorships at more than 30 universities. He is co-editor of several books, including Patient Wishes and Physician Obligations (1978), Chronic Illness and Disability (1995), and Behavioral Genetics: The Clash of Culture and Biology (1999).
Medicine’s prevailing public image is cast in terms of wars on disease and scientific breakthroughs. But when we are sick, we want to be taken care of by technically skilled professionals who also have the capacity to care. Using the imagery of poetry and story, Dr. Carson evokes experiences of vulnerability and empathy on the part of chronically ill and dying persons and the professionals who care for them.
At a time of rapid change in medicine and health care, ethical questions become particularly pressing. This talk explores moral aspects of encounters between patients and doctors, ranging from such high-profile issues as physician-assisted suicide and access to health care to day-to-day concerns of trust, respect, and mutuality in decision making.