A Practice Based on Compassion and CaringRon Banner, M.D.
Dr. Ron Banner says that being a physician is a calling, not just a business or a profession. An internist who founded both a medical ethics committee and the first hospice in an acute care hospital in Philadelphia, Dr. Banner not only focuses on treating his patients’ diseases, but also maximizing their health and compassionately supporting their bodies, minds, and spirits. Dr. Banner says, “Medical professionals need to not only be responsible to, and care for, patients who entrust their lives to us—but also to all creatures on the planet.”
As a first-year medical student decades ago, Dr. Banner was concerned when he learned that a dog would be “sacrificed” after being used for a training demonstration. He encouraged the teaching staff to allow the dog to heal and found the animal a home.
This year, Dr. Banner took this message of compassion to Capitol Hill to help with PCRM’s campaign to end the use of animals in military medical training. Having served in the Army in Vietnam, he pointed out the need for the BEST Practices Act, which would end the use of animals in military combat trauma training. “The Armed Forces need to prepare their service people at least as well as those working in civilian hospitals and medical schools,” Dr. Banner says. “This involves replacing animals with computer-simulated, human-based models, which provide superior teaching and eliminate animal cruelty.”
Dr. Banner first became interested in PCRM because of his focus on prevention and encouraging patients to eat healthy foods. He arranged for PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D., to speak at grand rounds at one of the hospitals where he is on staff. Dr. Banner has been an active member of PCRM for more than a decade. “The question is not, ‘How does PCRM fit into my practice?’” Dr. Banner explains. “The question is, ‘How could I practice medicine as I see it without utilizing the precepts of PCRM and without being a vocal PCRM advocate?’”