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Plough Quarterly No. 17: The Soul of Medicine

Summer 2018

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front cover of Plough Quarterly No. 17: The Soul of Medicine

About This Issue

Medicine, so long as you don’t need it, is a tangential part of life, just one more profession among others. Until, that is, a loved one suffers an accident or falls sick. Then, suddenly, medicine is quite literally a matter of life or death. Medicine is also big business. Doctors have been reclassified as “service providers,” and patients are “clients.” Such commercialism breeds false incentives and inequalities, even in nations.

We need a vision of how medicine might serve the good of the whole human person: the body’s health, but also the health of that “piece of divinity in us.” We need love and reverence for humans as they are, not humans as technology may someday engineer them to be. Jesus, the healer from Nazareth, showed what it means to love the imperfect, the frail, the average. The glory of the medical profession is that it is dedicated to these works of mercy. In today’s money-driven healthcare industry, such tasks are often poorly rewarded. Yet they’re at the heart of medicine’s original mission.