MEN, MEDICINE and their MAKER by John W Klotz, PhD. Torelion Productions, University City, MO, 1991, 215 ps, $10
Review by Del Meyer, MD
The Reverend Doctor Klotz, Master of Divinity, who received his PhD in genetics, has served in the parish ministry as well as on the faculty of Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, MN, and Concordia Seminary, St Louis. He is at home in science and theology as can be seen from his publications in creation/evolution, environmental problems, and medical ethics.
In this short overview of a number of issues in medical ethics, Klotz gives us his viewpoint from a theological position. Although his approach is Biblical, he nevertheless struggles with ethical decisions, and the possible motives involved. However, he doesn't waver, as we frequently see in our generation, from moral principles that cannot be overridden under any circumstances, such as the Mosaic Code or what Christians call the ten commandments. As we see abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia being espoused, it is indeed refreshing to see someone reiterate such truths. He feels murder is wrong even if it may be the murder of a tyrant. Adultery is wrong even though those who engage in it may be acting in love. Stealing is wrong even though it may be a matter of Robin Hood taking from the rich to give to the poor.
Klotz also gives us the historical perspective on many issues. He points out that the Hippocratic Oath forbids abortion and pledges the doctor to oppose it. However, both Aristotle and Plato supported abortion on demand. It was into this society that the Gospel was introduced and turned the entire abortion issue around. We see the same thing today in the Roman Church in their stern messages to liberal Catholic politicians who are loath to take on Prelates.
Klotz treats a large number of other issues from artificial insemination to surrogate motherhood, homosexuality, AIDS, death and dying, euthanasia, transplants and allocation of medical resources. We feel comfortable with his position on all these issues. We need more anchors like him.
The appendix is loaded with a large number of medical ethical documents including the Oath of Hippocrates, The WMA (World Medical Association) Declaration of Geneva, the WMA Declaration of Helsinki, the AMA Principles of Medical Ethics, the Nuremberg Code, the Oath of the Hebrew Physician and others. This is really a handy reference to have near one's work station.