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Catholic Medical Association launches conscience app

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Doctors who have ethical questions in the midst of treating a patient can check their phones for answers.

Catholic physicians who are concerned about the ethical implications of care and treatment decisions now have a new tool to help them, and it will fit right into their pocket.

The Catholic Medical Association has developed the Catholic Medical Conscience App for health care professionals who want help learning and applying the intellectual tradition of the Church in the health care setting. The app has a “nihil obstat,” an official Church approval, from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

The app is designed to support doctors in several ways:

Translating. The app promises to help doctors by communicating ethical dilemmas in a clinical, not philosophical, language and context.

Guiding. It will help professionals decide for themselves what they think is right concerning open questions in the Church.

Organizing. In each clinical scenario, the app asks the most important question to systematically guide the professional through an ethical dilemma.

Referring. App links to specific paragraphs of specific documents for immediate reading of a precise primary resource.

Elaborating. This app provides immediate answers, and will elaborate when the user selects “see comments.”

Coaching. It’s one thing for a doctor to make decisions; it’s another to explain them to the patient and his family. The app equips the provider to guide patients through open questions.

One of the app’s developers, Brenden Rhatican, explained how the app will assist Catholic doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals who want to make informed, ethical decisions while on the job.

Said Rhatican, “Like a good Catholic health care ethicist, this app will coach you through clinical ethical dilemmas while embedding direct links to critical primary sources for further reading.”

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