Ethicists sometimes live in ivory towers. David Schiedermayer writes from the trenches. As a practicing internist in a county hospital, he is on the front line of medicine. Having firsthand knowledge of the practice of medicine makes his book Putting the Soul Back in Medicine a welcome addition.
Medicine is high tech at its best and depersonalized at its worst. Wonderful technology devoid of soul and feeling. The cure for "high tech is high touch," not just the physical, but the emotional. Medical personnel and chaplains who face life and death every moment often become cynical and distance them selves just to cope with the situation. Schiedermayer teaches us to feel not just with our hands but also with our hearts.
Schiedermayer enumerates classic ethical themes, such as the dignity of life and technology's imperative to prolong it. It is the fear of dying and the desire to conquer death and disease that robs us of the joy of life here and now. Then he elaborates with personal experiences that make the reading of this book interesting and enjoyable.
A Christian doctor's ethical view of life, health, disease, and death may not be shared by most health professionals, but it makes good sense in a world driven by secularism, market economy, litigation, greed, and political correctness. In that sense Schiedermayer may be a lone voice.
A useful glossary of terms is provided at the end.