The Final Journey: Insights from a Catholic Doctor and Neurosurgeon w/ Dr. Stephen Doran M.D. – Discerning Hearts Podcasts

FJ1 – Embarking on the Journey – The Final Journey with Dr. Stephen Doran M.D. – Discerning Hearts Catholic Podcasts

Episode 1 – Embarking on the Journey – The Final Journey with Dr. Stephen Doran, M.D.

In this conversation, Dr. Stephen Doran, a Catholic deacon and neurosurgeon, and series host Kris McGregor, discuss his experiences with end-of-life care and the importance of contemplating death. He emphasizes the inevitability of death and the need for individuals to prepare for it, both spiritually and practically. Dr. Doran also shares his personal experience with his father-in-law’s death, which was a profound and holy time that deeply impacted him and his family. He stresses that preparation for death should begin now and that it can be approached in a way that isn’t scary. The conversation highlights the importance of deep listening, discernment, and integrating death into the experience of life.

For more episodes in the series, visit The Final Journey: Insights from a Catholic Doctor and Neurosurgeon w/ Dr. Stephen Doran M.D.  – Discerning Hearts Podcasts

 

Stephen Doran, M.D., a board-certified neurosurgeon with over twenty-five years of experience, is an ordained permanent deacon and serves as the bioethicist for the Archdiocese of Omaha. His writings in bioethics, neurosurgery, and gene therapy for brain disorders have been widely published in national media outlets, academic journals, and neurosurgery textbooks. He is married with five sons. He co-founded Seeking Truth Catholic Bible Study with his wife, Sharon.


Discerning Hearts reflection questions for this episode:

  1. Facing the Inevitability: How does Dr. Stephen Doran express the inevitability of death as a shared destination for everyone?
  2. Vocational Roles and Balance: In what ways does Dr. Doran discuss the challenge of balancing various vocational roles, including being a doctor, deacon, husband, and father, while relying on God’s grace?
  3. The Importance of Storytelling: How does Dr. Doran use storytelling in his book to draw people into the concrete realities of end-of-life experiences, as opposed to relying solely on clinical or dogmatic teachings?
  4. The Journey to Neurosurgery: What influenced Dr. Doran’s decision to pursue neurosurgery, and how does he reflect on the weight of the responsibility associated with this medical field?
  5. Being Present in Life-Changing Moments: How does Dr. Doran describe the privilege and challenge of being present with patients during life-changing moments, especially in the context of neurosurgery?
  6. A Holy Death: Based on the story of Dr. Doran’s father-in-law, Mike, how does the experience of a holy death impact the family’s perception of death, making it less scary and more integrated into the fabric of life?


You can find the book here

From the book description:

Dr. Stephen Doran draws from his vast experience as a neurosurgeon, a bioethicist, and a permanent deacon to present the Catholic perspective on the art of dying well. The spiritual and moral issues related to death and the process of dying can be challenging and complicated. To Die Well provides a detailed yet readily understandable guide to these topics.

Each chapter begins with a story from Dr. Doran’s personal or professional life that not only provides context for the topic at hand but also gently draws the reader toward the personal realities of dying. The first part focuses on the moral issues that surround death and dying, including end-of-life medical decisions. The second part is devoted to the Catholic spiritual understanding of dying and the rites that accompany the death of a Catholic.

To Die Well will help readers contemplate, pray about, and prepare for the end of their earthly lives.

 

FJ2 – Navigating Life, Death, and Ethical Dilemmas – The Final Journey with Dr. Stephen Doran M.D. – Discerning Hearts Catholic Podcasts

Episode 2 – Navigating Life, Death, and Ethical Dilemmas – The Final Journey with Dr. Stephen Doran, M.D.

In this podcast episode, Dr. Stephen Doran and Kris McGregor discuss the nature of death from both medical and spiritual viewpoints. Dr. Doran, a neurosurgeon and deacon, defines death clinically as the cessation of bodily functions but emphasizes its more profound significance in Catholicism as the soul’s separation from the body. He discusses the challenges in medical practice, especially around end-of-life decisions, highlighting the importance of aligning with God’s will and providing unbiased information to families.

The conversation also explores Dr. Doran’s journey to becoming a deacon and how it has enriched his medical practice. Ethical and moral considerations in medicine, particularly in the context of brain death and technological advancements, are addressed. Dr. Doran underscores the need for decision-making principles grounded in science and faith.

The episode touches on issues like euthanasia and assisted suicide, noting their impact on medical ethics and practice. Dr. Doran concludes by encouraging healthcare professionals to integrate love and faith into their work and personal lives, reinforcing the central role of love in all aspects of life.

For more episodes in the series, visit The Final Journey: Insights from a Catholic Doctor and Neurosurgeon w/ Dr. Stephen Doran M.D.  – Discerning Hearts Podcasts.

 

Stephen Doran, M.D., a board-certified neurosurgeon with over twenty-five years of experience, is an ordained permanent deacon and serves as the bioethicist for the Archdiocese of Omaha. His writings in bioethics, neurosurgery, and gene therapy for brain disorders have been widely published in national media outlets, academic journals, and neurosurgery textbooks. He is married with five sons. He co-founded Seeking Truth Catholic Bible Study with his wife, Sharon.


Discerning Hearts reflection questions for this episode:

  1. Understanding Death’s Conundrum: How does the conversation highlight the challenges people face in understanding and making decisions about death in today’s complex world of medical advancements?
  2. Letting Go and Conforming to God’s Will: In what ways does the podcast discuss the significance of letting go and conforming one’s will to God, especially in the context of dealing with end-of-life decisions?
  3. Integration of Faith in Medical Practice: How does Dr. Stephen Doran reflect on the integration of his faith into his role as a neurosurgeon and deacon, and why is it essential for clinicians to be more than just doctors who happen to be Catholic?
  4. The Role of Physicians in Providing Information: What is emphasized regarding the role of physicians, particularly in situations where decisions about withholding nutrition, palliative care, or hospice care need to be addressed? How does Dr. Doran approach providing information to families facing these decisions?
  5. Challenges of Evolving Technology: How does the podcast address the challenges posed by advancing medical technology, especially in areas like determining brain death, and how do these challenges intersect with ethical, moral, and faith-based considerations?
  6. The Witness of Dying Well: How does the conversation highlight the importance of dying well as a witness to the community, and what impact can a person’s approach to death have on those witnessing it, regardless of their faith background?


You can find the book here

From the book description:

Dr. Stephen Doran draws from his vast experience as a neurosurgeon, a bioethicist, and a permanent deacon to present the Catholic perspective on the art of dying well. The spiritual and moral issues related to death and the process of dying can be challenging and complicated. To Die Well provides a detailed yet readily understandable guide to these topics.

Each chapter begins with a story from Dr. Doran’s personal or professional life that not only provides context for the topic at hand but also gently draws the reader toward the personal realities of dying. The first part focuses on the moral issues that surround death and dying, including end-of-life medical decisions. The second part is devoted to the Catholic spiritual understanding of dying and the rites that accompany the death of a Catholic.

To Die Well will help readers contemplate, pray about, and prepare for the end of their earthly lives.

 

FJ3 – Coma Care and Ethical Nutrition Choices – The Final Journey with Dr. Stephen Doran M.D. – Discerning Hearts Catholic Podcasts

Episode 3 – Coma Care and Ethical Nutrition Choices – The Final Journey with Dr. Stephen Doran, M.D.

Dr. Steve Doran and Kris McGregor discuss the ethical and spiritual considerations of providing nutrition to patients in a coma or vegetative state. He emphasizes the importance of viewing each case individually, as the circumstances and prognosis can vary greatly.

He also highlights the importance of distinguishing between medical treatment and care, arguing that nutrition falls into the latter category and should not be optional. Dr. Doran encourages families to have conversations in advance about potential medical situations and to appoint a trusted person to make decisions on their behalf, should they become unable to do so themselves.

Dr. Doran also warns against the dangers of blanket statements and generalizations in medical decision-making, and stresses the importance of maintaining a balance between the fear of death and the desire to reach Heaven.

For more episodes in the series, visit The Final Journey: Insights from a Catholic Doctor and Neurosurgeon w/ Dr. Stephen Doran M.D.  – Discerning Hearts Podcasts.

 

Stephen Doran, M.D., a board-certified neurosurgeon with over twenty-five years of experience, is an ordained permanent deacon and serves as the bioethicist for the Archdiocese of Omaha. His writings in bioethics, neurosurgery, and gene therapy for brain disorders have been widely published in national media outlets, academic journals, and neurosurgery textbooks. He is married with five sons. He co-founded Seeking Truth Catholic Bible Study with his wife, Sharon.


Discerning Hearts reflection questions for this episode:

  1. Individualized Ethical Considerations: Reflect on Dr. Doran’s emphasis on viewing each coma case individually. How can this approach guide ethical decisions in patient care?
  2. Medical Treatment vs. Care: Consider Dr. Doran’s distinction between medical treatment and care in the context of nutrition for comatose patients. How can this perspective impact healthcare decisions?
  3. Preemptive Family Conversations: Explore the importance of discussing potential medical situations in advance, as suggested by Dr. Doran. How can preemptive family conversations positively influence decision-making?
  4. Trusted Decision-Makers: Reflect on the recommendation to appoint a trusted person for decision-making. How does this contribute to the ethical and spiritual dimensions of patient care in challenging situations?
  5. Dangers of Generalizations: Contemplate Dr. Doran’s warning against blanket statements in medical decision-making. How can avoiding generalizations enhance the ethical considerations in providing nutrition to comatose patients?
  6. Balancing Fear and Desire: Consider Dr. Doran’s emphasis on balancing the fear of death with the desire to reach Heaven. How can maintaining this balance contribute to a holistic approach in caring for patients in a coma or vegetative state?


You can find the book here

From the book description:

Dr. Stephen Doran draws from his vast experience as a neurosurgeon, a bioethicist, and a permanent deacon to present the Catholic perspective on the art of dying well. The spiritual and moral issues related to death and the process of dying can be challenging and complicated. To Die Well provides a detailed yet readily understandable guide to these topics.

Each chapter begins with a story from Dr. Doran’s personal or professional life that not only provides context for the topic at hand but also gently draws the reader toward the personal realities of dying. The first part focuses on the moral issues that surround death and dying, including end-of-life medical decisions. The second part is devoted to the Catholic spiritual understanding of dying and the rites that accompany the death of a Catholic.

To Die Well will help readers contemplate, pray about, and prepare for the end of their earthly lives.

 

FJ4 – Palliative Care, Hospice, and Pain Control – The Final Journey with Dr. Stephen Doran M.D. – Discerning Hearts Catholic Podcasts

Episode 4 –Palliative Care, Hospice, and Pain Control – The Final Journey with Dr. Stephen Doran, M.D.

In this thoughtful episode of the Discerning Hearts Podcast, Dr. Stephen Doran joins Kris McGregor to discuss the complex and often emotional journey of end-of-life care. Covering topics from palliative care to the difficult decisions surrounding hospice and pain control, Dr. Doran brings a compassionate perspective to these challenging situations.

The conversation delves into the importance of preparing for end-of-life scenarios, emphasizing the need for thoughtful discussion and decision-making well in advance.  They discuss the principle of double effect in medical ethics, which allows for actions that have both good and bad effects, as long as the intention is to bring about the good effect.

Dr. Doran shares personal anecdotes and professional insights, highlighting the unique nature of each individual’s end-of-life journey and the role of hope and faith in these moments. This episode offers a blend of medical ethics, personal reflection, and spiritual guidance, aimed at helping listeners navigate the intricacies of end-of-life care with grace and understanding.

For more episodes in the series, visit The Final Journey: Insights from a Catholic Doctor and Neurosurgeon w/ Dr. Stephen Doran M.D.  – Discerning Hearts Podcasts.

 

Stephen Doran, M.D., a board-certified neurosurgeon with over twenty-five years of experience, is an ordained permanent deacon and serves as the bioethicist for the Archdiocese of Omaha. His writings in bioethics, neurosurgery, and gene therapy for brain disorders have been widely published in national media outlets, academic journals, and neurosurgery textbooks. He is married with five sons. He co-founded Seeking Truth Catholic Bible Study with his wife, Sharon.


Discerning Hearts reflection questions for this episode:

 



You can find the book here

From the book description:

Dr. Stephen Doran draws from his vast experience as a neurosurgeon, a bioethicist, and a permanent deacon to present the Catholic perspective on the art of dying well. The spiritual and moral issues related to death and the process of dying can be challenging and complicated. To Die Well provides a detailed yet readily understandable guide to these topics.

Each chapter begins with a story from Dr. Doran’s personal or professional life that not only provides context for the topic at hand but also gently draws the reader toward the personal realities of dying. The first part focuses on the moral issues that surround death and dying, including end-of-life medical decisions. The second part is devoted to the Catholic spiritual understanding of dying and the rites that accompany the death of a Catholic.

To Die Well will help readers contemplate, pray about, and prepare for the end of their earthly lives.

FJ5 – Saving a Life or Prolonging a Death – The Final Journey with Dr. Stephen Doran M.D. – Discerning Hearts Catholic Podcasts

Episode 5 – Saving a Life or Prolonging a Death  – The Final Journey with Dr. Stephen Doran, M.D.

In this episode, Dr. Stephen Doran and Kris McGregor engage in a thoughtful discussion on the delicate topic of withdrawing care from individuals grappling with severe illnesses. Dr. Doran emphasizes the intricacies and moral considerations that surround such decisions, underlining the significance of understanding the patient’s prognosis, level of function, age, and unique circumstances.

The discussion delves into the multifaceted nature of pain, encompassing emotional, physical, and spiritual dimensions. It underscores the necessity of adopting a holistic approach in medical care, recognizing the interconnectedness of these elements. Ventilators emerge as a focal point, with Dr. Doran addressing the ethical and emotional challenges confronted by caregivers, families, and medical professionals when deciding on life-prolonging measures.

Dr. Doran acknowledges the grace inherent in a holy death and the importance of understanding that withdrawing life support doesn’t equate to causing the person’s death. Instead, it signifies allowing a natural transition. The conversation seeks to provide guidance and support for caregivers navigating the intricate decisions involved in end-of-life care.

For more episodes in the series, visit The Final Journey: Insights from a Catholic Doctor and Neurosurgeon w/ Dr. Stephen Doran M.D.  – Discerning Hearts Podcasts.

Stephen Doran, M.D., a board-certified neurosurgeon with over twenty-five years of experience, is an ordained permanent deacon and serves as the bioethicist for the Archdiocese of Omaha. His writings in bioethics, neurosurgery, and gene therapy for brain disorders have been widely published in national media outlets, academic journals, and neurosurgery textbooks. He is married with five sons. He co-founded Seeking Truth Catholic Bible Study with his wife, Sharon.


Discerning Hearts reflection questions for this episode:

  1. Personal Values and End-of-Life Decisions: How do personal values and faith influence decisions about end-of-life care? Reflect on how your beliefs would shape your choices in a similar situation.
  2. The Role of Spirituality in Suffering: Dr. Doran discusses the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of pain. Reflect on how spirituality can help individuals cope with suffering, especially during terminal illness.
  3. Ethical Considerations in Withdrawing Care: Consider the ethical dilemmas that arise when deciding to withdraw medical treatment. How can families navigate these complex decisions while honoring the dignity of the patient?
  4. Family Dynamics in Healthcare Decisions: Reflect on the importance of communication within families during critical healthcare decisions. How can families ensure that all voices are heard and respected?
  5. Impact of Healthcare Providers’ Communication: How does the approach and communication of healthcare providers affect the decision-making process for families in end-of-life situations?
  6. Balancing Hope and Reality in Treatment Decisions: Reflect on the balance between maintaining hope and facing the reality of a terminal prognosis. How can patients and families navigate this delicate balance?
  7. Moral Responsibility in End-of-Life Choices: Consider the feelings of guilt or responsibility family members may experience when making end-of-life decisions. How can individuals reconcile these feelings with the reality of the situation?
  8. Lessons from Patient Stories: Reflect on the stories of Mary and Roberta shared in the podcast. What can we learn from their experiences about grace, courage, and acceptance in the face of terminal illness?
  9. Role of Prayer in Difficult Decisions: How can prayer and spiritual guidance aid in making tough decisions about end-of-life care?
  10. Preparing for End-of-Life Decisions: What steps can individuals take now to prepare for potential end-of-life decisions, both for themselves and their loved ones?


You can find the book here

From the book description:

Dr. Stephen Doran draws from his vast experience as a neurosurgeon, a bioethicist, and a permanent deacon to present the Catholic perspective on the art of dying well. The spiritual and moral issues related to death and the process of dying can be challenging and complicated. To Die Well provides a detailed yet readily understandable guide to these topics.

Each chapter begins with a story from Dr. Doran’s personal or professional life that not only provides context for the topic at hand but also gently draws the reader toward the personal realities of dying. The first part focuses on the moral issues that surround death and dying, including end-of-life medical decisions. The second part is devoted to the Catholic spiritual understanding of dying and the rites that accompany the death of a Catholic.

To Die Well will help readers contemplate, pray about, and prepare for the end of their earthly lives.

 

FJ6 – Insights into Advanced Directives and Catholic Ethical Perspectives – The Final Journey with Dr. Stephen Doran M.D. – Discerning Hearts Catholic Podcasts

Episode 6 – Insights into Advanced Directives and Catholic Ethical Perspectives

 – The Final Journey with Dr. Stephen Doran, M.D.

In this episode, Dr. Stephen Doran and Kris McGregor highlight the crucial significance of advanced directives, in particular the living will and durable power of attorney for healthcare. Emphasizing the need for understanding these documents, Dr. Doran underscores their role in guiding healthcare decisions when communication from the patient is impossible.

He cautions against misinterpretations in the practical aspects of advanced directives, urging alignment with genuine desires through open communication with the designated power of attorney. The podcast stresses the importance of the durable power of attorney for healthcare, designating a crucial point person for medical decisions and facilitating family support.

Dr. Doran also advises caution on physician orders for life-sustaining treatment, encouraging viewers to view advanced directives as expressions of the human inclination to control destiny while embracing mystery and grace in the face of death.

For more episodes in the series, visit The Final Journey: Insights from a Catholic Doctor and Neurosurgeon w/ Dr. Stephen Doran M.D.  – Discerning Hearts Podcasts.

Stephen Doran, M.D., a board-certified neurosurgeon with over twenty-five years of experience, is an ordained permanent deacon and serves as the bioethicist for the Archdiocese of Omaha. His writings in bioethics, neurosurgery, and gene therapy for brain disorders have been widely published in national media outlets, academic journals, and neurosurgery textbooks. He is married with five sons. He co-founded Seeking Truth Catholic Bible Study with his wife, Sharon.


Discerning Hearts reflection questions for this episode:

  1. Understanding and Embracing Mortality: How does creating an advanced directive challenge us to confront and accept our own mortality from a Catholic perspective? Reflect on how this acceptance can lead to a deeper spiritual understanding and preparation for death.
  2. The Role of Faith in Decision-Making: In light of the conversation about advanced directives and living wills, how can your faith inform your decisions about end-of-life care? Consider the Catholic Church’s teachings on the dignity of human life and the sanctity of death.
  3. Choosing a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare: Why is it important to select someone who shares your faith and values as your durable power of attorney for healthcare? Reflect on the significance of having someone who respects and understands your beliefs making decisions on your behalf.
  4. The Limits of Human Control and Trust in God: How does the desire to control every aspect of our end-of-life care reflect our human nature? From a Catholic perspective, how can we balance this desire with trust in God’s plan and the mystery of His grace?
  5. Ethical and Moral Considerations: Discuss the ethical and moral considerations that should guide the creation of an advanced directive or living will. How can these documents be aligned with Catholic teaching on end-of-life care?
  6. Communication and Community in End-of-Life Decisions: How important is open communication with family members and loved ones when preparing for end-of-life decisions? Reflect on the role of community, family, and the church in supporting these conversations.
  7. Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: In light of Dr. Doran’s mention of euthanasia and assisted suicide as expressions of controlling one’s destiny, discuss the Catholic Church’s stance on these issues. How does this stance challenge contemporary societal views on death and dying?
  8. The Spiritual Journey of Dying Well: Reflect on the concept of dying well from a Catholic viewpoint. How can preparing for death through advanced directives and thoughtful consideration of end-of-life care be a part of a spiritual journey toward eternal life?


You can find the book here

From the book description:

Dr. Stephen Doran draws from his vast experience as a neurosurgeon, a bioethicist, and a permanent deacon to present the Catholic perspective on the art of dying well. The spiritual and moral issues related to death and the process of dying can be challenging and complicated. To Die Well provides a detailed yet readily understandable guide to these topics.

Each chapter begins with a story from Dr. Doran’s personal or professional life that not only provides context for the topic at hand but also gently draws the reader toward the personal realities of dying. The first part focuses on the moral issues that surround death and dying, including end-of-life medical decisions. The second part is devoted to the Catholic spiritual understanding of dying and the rites that accompany the death of a Catholic.

To Die Well will help readers contemplate, pray about, and prepare for the end of their earthly lives.

FJ7 – The Complexity of Brain Death – The Final Journey with Dr. Stephen Doran M.D. – Discerning Hearts Catholic Podcasts

Episode 7 – The Complexity of Brain Death – The Final Journey with Dr. Stephen Doran, M.D.

In this episode, Dr. Stephen Doran and Kris McGregor explore brain death, its historical evolution, and challenges in determining death for organ transplantation. Highlighting the ontological nature of death, Dr. Doran cautions against dehumanizing language, and encourage trust in God for guidance in end-of-life decisions. He also mentions the significance of precise criteria and highlights the impact of a third party in organ donation decisions.

Dr. Doran advises against succumbing to perceived urgency, urging reflection and prayer. For those with regrets, he advocates assuming good intent, learning from the experience, and moving forward with newfound strength.

For more episodes in the series, visit The Final Journey: Insights from a Catholic Doctor and Neurosurgeon w/ Dr. Stephen Doran M.D.  – Discerning Hearts Podcasts.

Stephen Doran, M.D., a board-certified neurosurgeon with over twenty-five years of experience, is an ordained permanent deacon and serves as the bioethicist for the Archdiocese of Omaha. His writings in bioethics, neurosurgery, and gene therapy for brain disorders have been widely published in national media outlets, academic journals, and neurosurgery textbooks. He is married with five sons. He co-founded Seeking Truth Catholic Bible Study with his wife, Sharon.


Discerning Hearts reflection questions for this episode:

  1. Ontological Reflection: How does Dr. Doran’s discussion deepen your understanding of death as an ontological event, separating the soul from the body?
  2. Evolution of Criteria: In what ways has the historical evolution of criteria for determining death influenced your perception of end-of-life decisions?
  3. Dehumanizing Language: Reflect on the caution against dehumanizing language, such as “harvest.” How can language impact attitudes towards organ donation and end-of-life decisions?
  4. Impact of External Interests: Consider the role of a third party in organ donation decisions. How does this introduction of external interests impact the decision-making process?
  5. Avoiding Perceived Urgency: Dr. Doran advises against succumbing to perceived urgency in end-of-life decisions. How can this perspective change your approach to such decisions?
  6. Prayerful Guidance: Reflect on the advice to trust in God for guidance in end-of-life decisions. How does prayer play a role in your decision-making process, especially in difficult situations?


You can find the book here

From the book description:

Dr. Stephen Doran draws from his vast experience as a neurosurgeon, a bioethicist, and a permanent deacon to present the Catholic perspective on the art of dying well. The spiritual and moral issues related to death and the process of dying can be challenging and complicated. To Die Well provides a detailed yet readily understandable guide to these topics.

Each chapter begins with a story from Dr. Doran’s personal or professional life that not only provides context for the topic at hand but also gently draws the reader toward the personal realities of dying. The first part focuses on the moral issues that surround death and dying, including end-of-life medical decisions. The second part is devoted to the Catholic spiritual understanding of dying and the rites that accompany the death of a Catholic.

To Die Well will help readers contemplate, pray about, and prepare for the end of their earthly lives.

FJ8 – Euthanasia Unveiled – The Final Journey with Dr. Stephen Doran M.D. – Discerning Hearts Catholic Podcasts

Episode 8 – Euthanasia Unveiled – The Final Journey with Dr. Stephen Doran, M.D.

In this episode, Dr. Stephen Doran and Kris McGregor discuss euthanasia, exploring its origins, societal perspectives, and the impact on individuals. They emphasize the importance of understanding suffering in a redemptive context, challenging the prevailing idea of a “good death” as solely painless. They explore the roots of euthanasia in eugenics, highlighting its dark history.

Dr. Doran addresses the cultural shift toward valuing autonomy over the sanctity of life, cautioning against the slippery slope of expanding eligibility criteria. The need for building supportive communities to counteract the appeal of euthanasia is emphasized, stressing the importance of recognizing the integrated nature of body and soul.

For more episodes in the series, visit The Final Journey: Insights from a Catholic Doctor and Neurosurgeon w/ Dr. Stephen Doran M.D.  – Discerning Hearts Podcasts.

Stephen Doran, M.D., a board-certified neurosurgeon with over twenty-five years of experience, is an ordained permanent deacon and serves as the bioethicist for the Archdiocese of Omaha. His writings in bioethics, neurosurgery, and gene therapy for brain disorders have been widely published in national media outlets, academic journals, and neurosurgery textbooks. He is married with five sons. He co-founded Seeking Truth Catholic Bible Study with his wife, Sharon.


Discerning Hearts reflection questions for this episode:

  1. Origins of Euthanasia: Reflect on the historical roots of euthanasia discussed in the podcast. How does understanding its origins shape your perspective on contemporary debates?
  2. Redemptive Context of Suffering: Consider the idea of viewing suffering in a redemptive context. How might this perspective challenge prevalent notions of a “good death” focused on painlessness?
  3. Euthanasia and Eugenics: Explore the connection between euthanasia and eugenics highlighted in the conversation. How does recognizing this dark history impact your understanding of the current discourse?
  4. Autonomy vs. Sanctity of Life: Reflect on the cultural shift towards prioritizing autonomy over the sanctity of life. In what ways does this shift pose challenges, and how might it affect ethical considerations surrounding euthanasia?
  5. Expanding Eligibility Criteria: Dr. Doran warns against the slippery slope of expanding eligibility criteria for euthanasia. What are your thoughts on this caution, and how might it influence policy decisions?
  6. Building Supportive Communities: Consider the importance of building supportive communities to counteract the appeal of euthanasia. How can communities contribute to a culture that values life and offers alternatives to assisted dying?
  7. Integrated Nature of Body and Soul: Dr. Doran emphasizes the integrated nature of body and soul. Reflect on the implications of this perspective for discussions on euthanasia and the human experience.
  8. Impact on Individuals: Explore the podcast’s discussion on the impact of euthanasia on individuals. How does this consideration shape your views on the broader societal implications of assisted dying?


You can find the book here

From the book description:

Dr. Stephen Doran draws from his vast experience as a neurosurgeon, a bioethicist, and a permanent deacon to present the Catholic perspective on the art of dying well. The spiritual and moral issues related to death and the process of dying can be challenging and complicated. To Die Well provides a detailed yet readily understandable guide to these topics.

Each chapter begins with a story from Dr. Doran’s personal or professional life that not only provides context for the topic at hand but also gently draws the reader toward the personal realities of dying. The first part focuses on the moral issues that surround death and dying, including end-of-life medical decisions. The second part is devoted to the Catholic spiritual understanding of dying and the rites that accompany the death of a Catholic.

To Die Well will help readers contemplate, pray about, and prepare for the end of their earthly lives.

FJ9 – Remembering Our COVID Experience and Lessons for the Future – The Final Journey with Dr. Stephen Doran M.D. – Discerning Hearts Catholic Podcasts

Episode 9 – Remembering Our COVID Experience and Lessons for the Future – The Final Journey with Dr. Stephen Doran, M.D.

In this episode, Dr. Stephen Doran and Kris McGregor discuss the psychological and spiritual impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly regarding how individuals and society have responded to the prolonged stress and challenges it has brought, especially for those in the nursing and caregiving professions. Dr. Doran highlights the story of a young nurse as an example of the former.

Dr. Doran and Kris make a particular note of the interconnectedness of physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being and the importance of maintaining faith, hope, and gratitude in the face of adversity.

For more episodes in the series, visit The Final Journey: Insights from a Catholic Doctor and Neurosurgeon w/ Dr. Stephen Doran M.D.  – Discerning Hearts Podcasts.

Stephen Doran, M.D., a board-certified neurosurgeon with over twenty-five years of experience, is an ordained permanent deacon and serves as the bioethicist for the Archdiocese of Omaha. His writings in bioethics, neurosurgery, and gene therapy for brain disorders have been widely published in national media outlets, academic journals, and neurosurgery textbooks. He is married with five sons. He co-founded Seeking Truth Catholic Bible Study with his wife, Sharon.


Discerning Hearts reflection questions for this episode:

  1. Psychological Impact: How has the prolonged pandemic affected your mental well-being and perception of challenges?
  2. Virtue Cultivation: In what ways can you cultivate virtues like faith, hope, and gratitude in your daily life?
  3. Discernment Practice: Are you actively discerning and responding to the movements of your heart, especially regarding fear and death?
  4. Spiritual Awareness: How do you view death as a transition, considering the eternal nature of the soul?
  5. Appreciating Caregivers: Reflect on your gratitude towards healthcare workers and other service providers.
  6. Preparation for Adversity: How can you spiritually prepare for future challenges or crises, both personally and as a society?
  7. Integration of Body and Soul: Do you acknowledge the spiritual dimension of your being and prioritize caring for your soul?
  8. Gratitude in Daily Life: How can you maintain a sense of gratitude for the small acts of service others provide in your daily life?


You can find the book here.

From the book description:

Dr. Stephen Doran draws from his vast experience as a neurosurgeon, a bioethicist, and a permanent deacon to present the Catholic perspective on the art of dying well. The spiritual and moral issues related to death and the process of dying can be challenging and complicated. To Die Well provides a detailed yet readily understandable guide to these topics.

Each chapter begins with a story from Dr. Doran’s personal or professional life that not only provides context for the topic at hand but also gently draws the reader toward the personal realities of dying. The first part focuses on the moral issues that surround death and dying, including end-of-life medical decisions. The second part is devoted to the Catholic spiritual understanding of dying and the rites that accompany the death of a Catholic.

To Die Well will help readers contemplate, pray about, and prepare for the end of their earthly lives.