28 February 2010

Hermann von Salza 4th Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights

In his excellent work, Maxims of Christian Chivalry, Kenelm Digby gives this account of Hermann von Salza, who became the 4th Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights in 1211. 

His heroic deeds against the infidels and his honor were celebrated throughout the world.  Humble in prosperity, never cast down at a reverse of fortune, Hermann, as a statesman, a ruler, and a soldier, is equally great, and corresponds with the ideal of a perfect man.  Such was his personal character that Pope Honorius III and Emperor Frederick II chose him to be the arbitrator between them, and both showed him equal respect and friendship.  He is described as an Achille in bravery and an Ulyssess in prudence.  He conquered everywhere and founded towns.  Like a lion in war, he was a mild and gracious ruler over his new people.  He gave them instructors, took care of the sick, defended the priests, and gained the hearts of all.

Between 1230 and 1238 the Teutonic order under him flourished in its greatest splendor and regained the honor, accorded by the Pope, to be equal to both the Knights Hospitaller and the Knights Templar.  After all its wars, Prussia, it is said, became within forty or fifty years the most flourishing and the best governed land in Europe.  It has been said also that, in consequence of the institutions of the knights, the people of Prussia, in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and the first half of the fifteenth century, enjoyed more freedom than any German state now possesses.  It is certain that the knights in Prussia, like the Benedictine monks in other parts, tilled the land, planted vines, reclaimed waste fens, and erected magnificent structures.  The towns were enclosed with thick walls and towers, and more than 1000 churches and convents were built in less than seventy years.  Enough has been seen to prove that the valor of Chivalry was not the spirit of ferocious barbarians but that of generous and devout men who were humane and lovers of their country and disinterested benefactors of the human race..

20 February 2010

Dedication of the Co-Cathedral of St. John in Valletta

Today marks the Feast of the Dedication of the Conventual Church of St. John in Valletta.  The Church was built between 1573 and 1578 following the Siege of Malta.  The Cathedral contains eight rich chapels, each of which was dedicated to the patron saint of the 8 langues (or sections) of the Knights. On the left side of the church there are the following chapels;

The Chapel of the Anglo-Bavarian Langue was formerly known as the Chapel of the Relic where the Knights used to keep relics that they have acquired through the centuries.

The Chapel of Provence is dedicated to Saint Michael.

The Chapel of France is dedicated to the Conversion of Saint Paul. This chapel was modified in the 19th century. The monuments found in this chapel are those of grandmasters Fra Adrien de Wignacourt and Fra Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc.

The Chapel of Italy, dedicated to St Catherine, the patron saint of Italy.

The Chapel of Germany is dedicated to the Epiphany of Christ. The titular paint is by Stefano Erardi, a Maltese painter.

On the right side of the church there are the following chapels;

The Chapel of Blessed Sacrament was formerly known as the Chapel of Our Lady of Philermos. The titular painting of this chapel is Our Lady of Carafa which is a copy of Our Lady of Lanciano. Among the knight buried in this chapel there is Fra Gian Francesco Abela and Fra Flaminio Balbiano.

The Chapel of Auvergne is dedicated to Saint Sebastian. The only monument in this chapel is that of Fra Annet de Clermont.

The Chapel of Aragon is dedicated to St. George. The titular painting was painted by Mattia Preti and it is considered as one of his masterpieces. In this chapel one can find the monuments of the following grandmasters, Fra Martin de Redin, Fra Raphael Cottoner, Fra Nicolas Cottoner, Fra Ramon Perellos.

For more information on this incredible Cathedral you can visit their website.

17 February 2010

The Canon of the Mass and the Concept of Sacrifice

In the Canon of the Mass, now the forgotten or ignored Eucharistic Prayer I, the word 'sacrifice' is used five times, in Eucharistic Prayer II never, in Prayers III and IV,  two and four times respectively.  It should be noted that EP IV is rarely used either.  Could there be a correlation between the loss of understanding of the sacrificial nature of the Mass and the frequent use of EP II?  Not only is there this lost sense of sacrifice but the other forms seem deficient in several other respects as well.  When one views the four prayers side by side it is hard not to recognize deficiciences in Eucharistic Prayers II, III, and IV.  You can compare them here.

Malteser International Video on Haitian Relief Efforts

New video released detailing the earthquake relief efforts of Malteser International in Haiti.

15 February 2010

Travelling With A Large Family

Our family had to make some recent travel plans and with nine of us travelling trying to find a hotel for that many can be a challenge.  Fortunately I found a useful website for families travelling with 5-8 members.  I figured if they can accomodate eight we can always squeeze in a couple more.  They've found nearly 3000 hotels in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.  If you're in the same boat check out (no pun intended) SixSuitcase Travel.

12 February 2010

Hopital Sacre Coeur Update

Update on the situation from Hopital Sacre Coeur from an interview in Catholic New York with Dr. Peter Kelly.

There were a few days right after the earthquake struck in Port-au-Prince that one of Haiti's best hospitals, Sacre Coeur, just 70 miles away in Milot, intact, fully equipped and operational, was eerily quiet.

Only a couple of helicopters a day landed while the ready staff anxiously waited, scanning the sky for incoming patients. People trapped under tons of rubble languished days before international rescue teams could be deployed. Debris-blocked roads made travel nearly impossible.

The unsettling quietude didn't last. Soon enough the helicopters started coming en force bringing with them the maimed, the sick and the dying.

Sacre Coeur has long since breached its own boundaries turning the entire town, with the support of its mayor, into an extended hospital to treat Haiti's earthquake survivors. The hospital, which normally holds 60 patients, has taken over two schools. A portable tent hospital, purchased for $300,000 through the financial and logistical support of the Order of Malta's American Association and Caritas Christi, a New England network of Catholic hospitals, has been flown in from Florida and erected, increasing capacity to 300 beds. A nearby soccer field has been transformed into a heliport and local residents, often very poor themselves, have taken the families of patients into their homes.

As of Feb. 9, Sacre Coeur was treating almost 400 patients with more arriving daily by helicopter and increasingly by road. The staff of 250, including 60 nurses and 20 doctors, has been augmented by an influx of professional volunteers from the United States, some 90 as of last week, including nurses and top orthopedic, trauma and general surgeons.

"The doctors and nurses down there are working 16 to 20 hour days," said Dr. Peter Kelly, a Knight of Malta who is president of the CRUDEM Foundation, which operates the hospital. The CRUDEM Foundation is a work of and partially funded by the American Association of the Order of Malta and also receives funding and volunteers from the order's Federal and Western associations.

Dr. Kelly, invested as a knight in the order in 1998, had just returned from Haiti Jan. 31 for a respite after a frenetic tour of duty in the vortex of Haiti's cataclysm. He spoke to CNY from CRUDEM's headquarters in Ludlow, Mass., via conference call to the order's American Association headquarters at the New York Catholic Center. He expects to return to Haiti in March.

"A lot of them don't get to bed until two or three o'clock in the morning and they're up again at seven to start the next day," he said of the hospital's staff and volunteers. "We did over 300 major operations the week I was there. That's an amazing number of operations to do in that short period of time."

Up to a dozen helicopters a day have been landing at Sacre Coeur giving Milot the look of a vast MASH Unit. Local high school students and boy scouts, trained as stretcher-bearers, meet the incoming choppers. Dr. Kelly said they've gotten the drill down so well that they can usually transfer the patients from the helicopters to the triage area within five minutes.

"Luckily the two teams that were down there right after the earthquake, one was a trauma team and the other was an orthopedic team, both the leaders of those teams were ex-military and that helped us get organized pretty quickly," he explained.

Dr. Kelly told CNY that the patients that are currently arriving are much sicker than the ones who arrived earlier. "Now what we're getting are patients that have been lying in the streets of Port-au-Prince for, it's going on three weeks, with fractures and crush injuries that have not been cared for and now they're getting septic, serious infections and they're coming in really, really sick."

Most of the medical volunteers are seeing horrific war-like injuries on a massive scale the first time. The workload, emotional stress and physical exhaustion takes a toll on volunteers who are rotated out every week. The Haitian staff is dealing with the added anguish of looking for lost loved ones in Port-au-Prince.

Faith, Dr. Kelly said, is what is holding his team together. "I think we all have very strong faith," he said. "One of the things that has been a big benefit is, there was a priest on our team (Father James Bromwich) from Kentucky and he had Mass at seven every morning and that was a tremendous source of strength for all the volunteers. He's a nurse as well. When the helicopters came in, he'd roll up his sleeves and start taking care of the patients as a nurse. He is a wonderful guy."

Dr. Kelly, a graduate of Notre Dame, is an ophthalmologist. He has volunteered at Sacre Coeur since 1993 and joined the board of the CRUDEM Foundation in 1999. He has been board president since 2006. During his time with Sacre Coeur he has seen the damage wrought by hurricanes, but he said nothing prepared him for this.

"It is indescribable," he acknowledged. "The pictures on the news don't do it justice."

Sacre Coeur has remained well stocked with medicines and provisions because the hospital is close to Cap Haitien, Haiti's second largest city, which suffered little damage in the earthquake and has a functioning airport. Right after the quake, Philips Medical Services sent a planeload of equipment and two employees to assemble it and train the staff. Medical supplies are trucked in to the hospital daily.

Financial donations have also been flowing in. Dr. Kelly says they are now approaching $1 million since the earthquake struck. At a capital campaign fund-raiser for the Malta Human Services Foundation in New York City Jan. 26, benefactors J.J. and Janet Cafaro, who will be invested into the Order of Malta in November, contributed $200,000 in immediate emergency support for the hospital.

"People have been wonderful," Dr. Kelly stressed. "We've received a significant amount of money in private donations. We are blessed with the donors we have and we're happy with what we've got. But we're certainly going to have a greater need because now we're going to have to enlarge our hospital to accommodate the services we've started to perform during this catastrophe."

11 February 2010

Pope's Message from Mass for World Day of the Sick

Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, a special feast particularly for members of the Order of Malta which regards Lourdes as our spiritual home.  There will be special live webcasts from the grotto of Lourdes all day that you can view here.

Roman Reports has also done a nice story on the appartions that can be see here.

There is also a LITANY OF OUR LADY OF LOURDES H/T to the blog of the Conventual Church of St. John of Jerusalem in London. 

Lord have mercy; Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy; Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy; Lord have mercy.
Christ hear us; Christ graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven; Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world; Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit; Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God; Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary; Pray for us.
Holy Mother of God; Pray for us.
Mother of Christ; Pray for us.
Mother of our Saviour; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, help of Christians; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, source of love; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, mother of the poor; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, mother of the handicapped; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, mother of orphans; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, mother of all children; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, mother of all nations; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, mother of the Church; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, friend of the lonely; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, comforter of those who mourn; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, shelter of the homeless; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, guide of travellers; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, strength of the weak; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, refuge of sinners; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, comforter of the suffering; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, help of the dying; Pray for us.
Queen of heaven; Pray for us.
Queen of peace; Pray for us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world; Spare us O Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world; Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world; Have mercy on us.
Christ hear us; Christ graciously hear us.

Let us pray:

Grant us, your servants, we pray you, Lord God, to enjoy perpetual health of mind and body. By the glorious intercession of Blessed Mary ever Virgin, may we be delivered from present sorrows, and enjoy everlasting happiness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

10 February 2010

What's Your Rule of Life?

Many third order members of religious communities follow a modified or even the full rule of their Order to attain a deeper spirtual life.  The Rule of St. Benedict is very popular even among the laity but it may not be suitable for you and your family.  So for those who would like a "Rule" to help their family grow spiritually the Catholic Truth Society of the U.K has a helpful resource.  The CTS publishes many books, pamphlets and other materials dealing with all things Catholic.  They've been around since 1868 and are a great resource for well done, affordably priced works and there's a good chance you've seen them in the rack at the back of your local Church.  One very useful pamphlet is A Rule of Life for Daily Christian Living which is available as a free download online.  It is a guideline on setting up your own 'rule of life' to be used by your family.

Another H/T to Auntie Joanna for this link

Too Much Too Soon - Sex Ed for 10 year olds

A recent report from the International Planned Parenthood calls for children as young as 10 years old to receive sex education indoctrination because we prudish Catholics are denying our youngsters the pleasures of sex.
Young people's sexuality is still contentious for many religious institutions. Fundamentalist and other religious groups — the Catholic Church and madrasas (Islamic Schools) for example — have imposed tremendous barriers that prevent young people, particularly, from obtaining information and services related to sex and reproduction. Currently, many religious teachings deny the pleasurable and positive aspects of sex." the report states.

Click here to read the report.

The report demands that children 10 and older be given a "comprehensive sexuality education" by governments, aid organizations and other groups, and that young people should be seen as "sexual beings."

"Young people have the right to be informed about sexuality and to have access to contraceptives and other services," Bert Koenders, the Netherlands Minister for Development Cooperation, wrote in the foreword to the report. It was his organization that helped fund the report.(Given that the Catholic Church in the Netherlands is virtually extinct one wonders how they are denying anyone anything.)
Joanna Bogle (Auntie Joanna) writes about a group in the U.K. that researches the cause and consequence of family breakdown.  The Family Education Trust publishes a number of bulletins to help parents combat the increasing attacks against the family.  Too Much, Too Soon details the government's plans for your child's sex education. 
Too Much, Too Soon sets out to tell parents what they need to know about sex education. It explains the law, identifies the aims of the key players, considers the research evidence, and weighs up the case for making sex education compulsory for all pupils from the age of five. It argues that young people do not need to be presented with a menu of sexual options from which they can make ‘informed choices’. Rather, the whole issue needs to be approached with honesty, modesty and within a clear moral framework that shows a proper respect for parents and for marriage.   The bulletin can be downloaded here. 
Even though this particular work pertains to the situation in the U.K. it is nevertheless relevant to all of us as the attacks on family life are global.

05 February 2010

Knights of St. John Special on EWTN

This week EWTN will be airing a program on the Order of Malta. Please see details below.

THE KNIGHTS OF ST. JOHN (1 hr)This compelling overview of the 1,000 year history of The Knights of St. John, explores the order’s evolution from hospital service to militaristic defense of the Faith, and back again to the care of the sick and needy.

Air Dates:

Sun 2/7/2010 10:00 PM ET / 7 PM PT

Tue 2/9/2010 1:00 PM ET / 10 AM PT

Fri 2/12/2010 4:00 AM ET / 1 AM PT

Please visit http://www.ewtn.com/channelfinder/ to find your local station.

04 February 2010

Justice Comes From Faith, Not Politcal Parties

Made public today was the 2010 Lenten Message of the Holy Father Benedict XVI. The text, dated 30 October 2009, has as its title a passage from St. Paul's Letter to the Romans: "The justice of God has been manifested through faith in Jesus Christ" From the Vatican Information Service,
First of all, I want to consider the meaning of the term 'justice', which in common usage implies 'to render to every man his due', according to the famous expression of Ulpian, a Roman jurist of the third century. In reality, however, this classical definition does not specify what 'due' is to be rendered to each person. What man needs most cannot be guaranteed to him by law. In order to live life to the full, something more intimate is necessary that can be granted only as a gift: we could say that man lives by that love which only God can communicate since He created the human person in His image and likeness. Material goods are certainly useful and required - indeed Jesus Himself was concerned to heal the sick, feed the crowds that followed Him and surely condemns the indifference that even today forces hundreds of millions into death through lack of food, water and medicine - yet 'distributive' justice does not render to the human being the totality of his 'due'. Just as man needs bread, so does man have even more need of God. St. Augustine notes: if 'justice is that virtue which gives every one his due ... where, then, is the justice of man, when he deserts the true God?'

"The Evangelist Mark reports the following words of Jesus, which are inserted within the debate at that time regarding what is pure and impure: 'There is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him. ... What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts'. Beyond the immediate question concerning food, we can detect in the reaction of the Pharisees a permanent temptation within man: to situate the origin of evil in an exterior cause. Many modern ideologies deep down have this presupposition: since injustice comes 'from outside', in order for justice to reign, it is sufficient to remove the exterior causes that prevent it being achieved. This way of thinking - Jesus warns - is ingenuous and short-sighted. Injustice, the fruit of evil, does not have exclusively external roots; its origin lies in the human heart, where the seeds are found of a mysterious co-operation with evil. With bitterness the Psalmist recognises this: 'Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me'. Indeed, man is weakened by an intense influence, which wounds his capacity to enter into communion with the other. By nature, he is open to sharing freely, but he finds in his being a strange force of gravity that makes him turn in and affirm himself above and against others: this is egoism, the result of original sin. Adam and Eve, seduced by Satan's lie, snatching the mysterious fruit against the divine command, replaced the logic of trusting in Love with that of suspicion and competition; the logic of receiving and trustfully expecting from the Other with anxiously seizing and doing on one's own, experiencing, as a consequence, a sense of disquiet and uncertainty. How can man free himself from this selfish influence and open himself to love?

"At the heart of the wisdom of Israel, we find a profound link between faith in God who 'lifts the needy from the ash heap' and justice towards one's neighbour. The Hebrew word itself that indicates the virtue of justice, 'sedaqah', expresses this well. 'Sedaqah', in fact, signifies on the one hand full acceptance of the will of the God of Israel; on the other hand, equity in relation to one's neighbour, especially the poor, the stranger, the orphan and the widow. But the two meanings are linked because giving to the poor for the Israelite is none other than restoring what is owed to God, who had pity on the misery of His people. It was not by chance that the gift to Moses of the tablets of the Law on Mount Sinai took place after the crossing of the Red Sea. Listening to the Law presupposes faith in God who first 'heard the cry' of His people and 'came down to deliver them out of hand of the Egyptians'. God is attentive to the cry of the poor and in return asks to be listened to: He asks for justice towards the poor, the stranger, the slave. In order to enter into justice, it is thus necessary to leave that illusion of self- sufficiency, the profound state of closure, which is the very origin of injustice. In other words, what is needed is an even deeper 'exodus' than that accomplished by God with Moses, a liberation of the heart, which the Law on its own is powerless to realize. Does man have any hope of justice then?

"The Christian Good News responds positively to man's thirst for justice, as St. Paul affirms in the Letter to the Romans: 'But now the justice of God has been manifested apart from law ... the justice of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by His blood, to be received by faith'.

"What then is the justice of Christ? Above all, it is the justice that comes from grace, where it is not man who makes amends, heals himself and others. The fact that 'expiation' flows from the 'blood' of Christ signifies that it is not man's sacrifices that free him from the weight of his faults, but the loving act of God Who opens Himself in the extreme, even to the point of bearing in Himself the 'curse' due to man so as to give in return the 'blessing' due to God. But this raises an immediate objection: what kind of justice is this where the just man dies for the guilty and the guilty receives in return the blessing due to the just one? Would this not mean that each one receives the contrary of his 'due'? In reality, here we discover divine justice, which is so profoundly different from its human counterpart. God has paid for us the price of the exchange in His Son, a price that is truly exorbitant. Before the justice of the Cross, man may rebel for this reveals how man is not a self-sufficient being, but in need of Another in order to realize himself fully. Conversion to Christ, believing in the Gospel, ultimately means this: to exit the illusion of self-sufficiency in order to discover and accept one's own need - the need of others and God, the need of His forgiveness and His friendship.

"So we understand how faith is altogether different from a natural, good- feeling, obvious fact: humility is required to accept that I need Another to free me from 'what is mine', to give me gratuitously 'what is His'. This happens especially in the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Thanks to Christ's action, we may enter into the 'greatest' justice, which is that of love, the justice that recognises itself in every case more a debtor than a creditor, because it has received more than could ever have been expected. Strengthened by this very experience, the Christian is moved to contribute to creating just societies, where all receive what is necessary to live according to the dignity proper to the human person and where justice is enlivened by love.

The World Needs Absolution

To recommend political and economic panaceas for he world problem of dehumanized forgotten man, is like recommending face powder for jaundice, or an alcohol rub for cancer. It is not our bodies that are ill; the soul of civilization is sick. The world is in a state of mortal sin and it needs absolution. The Cross and The Crisis by Fulton J. Sheen

This Lent the Archdiocese of Boston is sponsoring a wonderful initiative, The Light is On For You, to encourage reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Seeking to promote the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the Archdiocese of Boston has launched a new website about how to make a good confession. Its priests will also offer confessions in every chapel and church on Wednesdays during Lent. The website, www.TheLightIsOnForYou.org, describes how to prepare for confession with an examination of conscience. It also provides an act of contrition to recite before absolution.

03 February 2010

Novena For Our Lady of Lourdes

Here is a novena to Our Lady of Lourdes whose feast is on February 11th. I'm sorry it's not in English, I will try and translate it tomorrow.
Vierge Marie, ô Notre-Dame de Lourdes,
nous tournons vers vous
nos regards et le chant de notre prière.

Comme Bernadette Soubirous,
nous contemplons votre visage,
y découvrant les traits de la tendresse de Dieu.

Vous avez accompagné Bernadette
dans la rencontre de Dieu,
de sa miséricorde et de son mystère.
Vous lui avez appris la beauté de la prière,
guidant son geste comme une mère
dans le signe de la croix.

Apprenez-nous le Christ,
guidez-nous sur le chemin de la foi
et sur nos chemins de vie.

Nous confions à votre cœur de mère
les personnes malades et tous ceux qui souffrent.
Accueillez aussi les pécheurs.
Guidez-nous vers Dieu.
Amen !

Hopital Sacre Coeur on Nightline Tonight

News story about Crudem's Hopital Sacre Coeur tonight, Feb. 3rd at 10:30 p.m. on ABC's Nightline.

Triage Ethics For Multiple Patients and Limited Resources

One of the most difficult challenges healthcare professionals can face is in a mass casualty incident with limited resources and multiple patients. In such cases we try and follow the principle, the greatest good for the greatest number of people. But sometimes this isn't so simple when it isn't an imminent question of life or death. The staff treating earthquake survivors at the Hopital Sacre Coeur in Haiti is dealing with such a situation and has sought the advice from the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. Here is the problem they face,
The National Catholic Bioethics Center received a call recently from a priest volunteering in Haiti at a Catholic hospital run by the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta. The hospital is facing critical decisions regarding the distribution of scarce medical resources among those in desperate need. They had only one ventilator, and the patient who was on it was consuming most of the hospital’s oxygen and needed round-the-clock attention by a physician. Everyone agreed that care for this one patient was making unavailable to others access to the hospital’s scarce resources. The problem was tragically reinforced later when an injured nineteen year old woman arrived who needed short-term ventilator support. Thirty more wounded, the priest said, were to arrive later that day. Inevitably, others would also need access to the one ventilator available at the hospital. “We have very little supplies here. The American physicians are not used to this. What should be done?” the priest inquired. “There is a feeling that the ventilator should be taken from the man in the unconscious state, but I reminded everyone that his life was no less important than any other here.”

In discussion, it became clear that an objective policy was needed to direct the use of their one critically-important ventilator that would apply equally to all patients, and that provided guidance for its use. However, an “objective” policy must also be flexible in order to be applied in such an extraordinary situation in which circumstances can change by the minute and patients of such varying conditions will be brought for treatment and care.

Some patients would benefit from short-term application of the ventilator; others would require long term use --- something impossible in the present circumstances. Furthermore, appropriate reassessments of patients on a periodic basis would be required in the event that a patient shows evidence of being able to benefit from limited medical resources. The hospital would need to determine, by established criteria such as those listed below, whether the patient shows evidence of being able to benefit from the use of the ventilator within a reasonable time frame. If evidence of improvement does not occur, the ventilator could be discontinued.

The crisis in Haiti has brought to light the importance of having policies in place to manage crisis situations. A clear policy would help physicians recognize the need to make careful judgments about who would best be helped by short-term use of the ventilator, and who would require more support than could be given. Policies also diminish the likelihood of arbitrary decisions being made which might appear as favoritism to some over others. We have provided, below, a set of criteria that could be used to guide such a policy. In all cases, when a decision has been made that a patient will not benefit from limited resources, appropriate palliative care should be provided.

Thankfully, more supplies, including another ventilator, will soon arrive at Sacre Coeur Hospital. The National Catholic Bioethics Center has been asked to remain on call for further ethics consultations from Haiti. We hope that the Center can assist the suffering people of that devastated nation and their care-givers by bringing the highly developed moral tradition and compassion of the Catholic Church to bear in these heart-breaking situations.
To see the ethical crieria developed by the NCBC you can visit their website.


This blog and the opinions are all my own and in no way imply the endorsement from any organization. Nor does a recommendation of another blog or web site imply my agreement or endorsement of everything found on their site.