Advanced medical technologies and ethical values (based on the round table discussions)

  1. Lemma
  2. Высокие медицинские технологии и этические ценности (по материалам «круглого» стола)
  3. Russian
  4. Asliturk, Miriam
  5. Ethics - Modes of interaction - Orthodox critique of science - Orthodox view on technology and engineering - Scientific theories and disciplines > Medicine
  6. 08-05-2017
  7. Дыхно, Ю. А. [Author]. Высокие медицинские технологии и этические ценности (по материалам «круглого» стола)
  8. Сибирское медицинское обозрение
  9. ethics - new technologies - church and technology - medicine - bioethics - genetics
  10. Click Here
    1. <p>Дыхно Ю. А., Ковалевский В. А. & Кутумова О. Ю. (2010). Высокие медицинские технологии и этические ценности (по материалам «Круглого» стола). <em>Сибирское медицинское обозрение.</em> Retrieved from: <a href=""></a>. <br /><br /><br /></p>
    1. This is an academic article published in the medical journal Sibirskoe meditsinskoe obozrenie (Siberian Medical Overview) based on the materials of an October 2009 conference on ethics in medicine, held at the Krasnoyarsk State Medical University named after Voino-Yasenetsky. The conference was held within the framework of the 3rd Siberia Congress “Man and Medicine”, with a specific roundtable entitled “High Medical Technologies and Ethical Values”, which was dedicated to the memory of Professor V.F. Voino-Yasenetsky (1877-1961), who had been a surgeon, priest, and religious writer.  

      The conference began with an in-depth overview of Voino-Yasenetsky’s life, a man who had been both devout and deeply dedicated to the practice of medicine and who had faced great difficulties at the onset of the Soviet Union, including imprisonment and a number of arrests. 

      The second part of the conference was launched by Professor V. A. Sakovich. He spoke about ethical problems surrounding cardiac surgery for congenital heart defects, given the wide spread of prenatal testing technology, when the diagnosis of congenital malformations can be established for a fetus. The main ethical problem here is whether doctors should recommend abortions in these cases or not. Pavel Kraskov, Priest and Chairman of the Health Department of the Krasnoyarsk Eparchy of the Russian Orthodox Church, responded by highlighting the Russian Orthodox Church’s view on education, science and bioethics. He explained that the development of biomedical technologies is significantly ahead of the comprehension of possible spiritual, moral and social consequences and their uncontrolled application. In particular: the church regards abortion as a grave sin, so as from the moment of conception, the encroachment on the life of the future person is criminal. The Church also views contraception as selfish and devaluating the institution of marriage.  

      At the same time, the Russian Orthodox Church is not against artificial insemination of married couples. Yet maternal surrogacy is viewed as unethical even if it is carried out for non-commercial reasons. Likewise, the extracorporeal fertilization of single women using donor sex is not permitted. Transplantology also generates moral problems: the use of a number of methods of fatal therapy, which is based on the use of tissues and organs of human embryos after a late abortion, since abortion is not permitted by the Russian Orthodox Church. Kraskov concluded by saying that the Church was also against homosexuality and against hiding medical truths from the fatally ill, as this deprives them from the possibility to prepare for death.

      Kudashev, a doctoral candidate, expressed the opinion that there cannot be one single “ethics” at the moment. Religious ethics had developed when medical technologies of today were not available. Right now it is the expert community that can develop new approaches to ethical problems in medicine. For example, it is a sin according to the Russian Orthodox Church to use donor sperm for women with fertility issues but for the medical community it is not that obvious.  

      Schneider, another doctoral candidate, thinks that doctors should be especially careful in providing information based on molecular-genetic testing to patients because this information can potentially create discrimination against groups of people. Molecular-genetic testing can predict possible diseases to yet unborn children. It is the parents’ responsibility to decide to have or not to have children. Dr. Elizarova believes that this information should be confidential and that it is unethical not to provide it to patients. Norms for interaction between patients and doctors should also be well defined and strictly observed.  

      Anatoly, Prior at the Krasnoyarsk State Medical University Church of Saint Luka, concluded by asking about the possibility of a common ground between Orthodox Christian ethics and modern medicine. He cited Voino-Yasenetsky: “If we see things we don’t understand it does not necessarily mean that these things are sinful.” Religion thus does not want to stop progress. It only wants to become a moral beacon for it.