St. Raphael’s Guild

“Hi, are you Pam?, I’m Dan.  Nice to meet you.” Thus began a night of enjoying Mass, dinner and discussion at my first St. Raphael’s Guild meeting!

Even though I have lived in Duluth for four years already, I had not heard about this group until three weeks ago, when an announcement was made at Sunday Mass about a White Mass for all health care professionals being held later in October. Even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to go (it fell on mid-semester break), my curiosity got the better of me and I found myself going on the website listed in the bulletin to find out more, as I had never before heard of a White Mass (What is a White Mass?). Hence, my discovery of St. Raphael’s Guild, a group of Catholic health care professionals from the Duluth area.

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Fr. Knobloch

At this meeting, Fr. Tom Knoblach from St. Cloud talked about the process of making ethical decisions with us and discussed a few different case studies with us.  As a first year pharmacy student, it was nice to delve beyond learning chemistry and how to write up case reports for a few hours and discuss situations that health professionals face when it comes to ethical decision making.  My two favorite things that I learned from Fr. Knoblach was two of his many thought processes on how to make a decision where ethics are involved;  the first was asking if the intervention was ordinary vs. extraordinary, the second was using the acronym PREHAB. PREHAB stands for:

P-Patient Preferences-what does the patient want? (healthcare over the last several years has been increasingly moving toward patient autonomy)

R-Risks-what are the risks involved if we intervene?

E-Expenses-while this shouldn’t be an important factor in the decision, it is still a factor.

H-Hope-what do we hope to achieve by intervening.

A-Availability-is the treatment/intervention available at your site/hospital/in your country? (i.e. the option to have a feeding tube is not necessarily an option in poorer countries)

B-Benefit vs. Burden-Is the emotional burden worth it?  How important is the benefit (i.e. in a patient who wants to live to see their grandson’s baptism, the benefit of living those few extra months is greater than a patient who does not have the same goal)

 

 

 

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