Cuban doctor reiterates human dimension of medical vocation


In an article published by the magazine Vitral, Doctor Maria De la Luz Casas reminded doctors and students that the practice of medicine should be motivated by the desire to learn science that helps the patient, as “learning in order to have knowledge can be good (but) learning in order to serve can be better.”

“Perhaps it sounds strange to ask that we love our patients, perhaps it is better to say: let’s be committed to their wellbeing.  Only this way can we find fulfillment for them and for ourselves,” she wrote in the latest edition of the magazine published by the Diocese of Pinar del Rio.

Patients should not be been seen as mere bodies that need to function, she said, but as “self-reflective and autonomous beings,” whose lives have meaning and “deserve to be respected because they are persons.”

She noted that one of the problems with current technology is that “man is considered to be at the service of science” and that it is often forgotten that while knowledge is good in itself, only knowledge that promotes the good of the person should be applied.

“We live in the era of science and this is a power that more often than not leads to abuse, discrimination and corruption because in practice it is connected to the political and economic spheres,” Dr. Casas stated.  “When science and power are connected, they become dehumanizing, because man becomes the means of using that power, “she continued.

In her article she also addressed the issue of euthanasia, noting that it “minimizes the value of life and leads people to act according to their economic or social utility, forgetting that a fundamental part of the reason for human life is a person’s own existence.”

Quoting Spanish doctor and psychiatrist Aquilino Polaino, Dr. Casas reiterated that in doctor-patient relationships, “If there can be no cure, help should be given.  If not that, then consolation, and if not that, then accompaniment.”

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