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John J. Hardt, Ph.D., Arts ’94

John HardtIs it ethical for a patient or patient’s surrogate to refuse artificial nutrition and hydration? Can a physician refuse to prescribe a medication to a patient because the physician has a moral objection to its use?

It’s safe to say that John Hardt doesn’t shy away from life’s tough questions. As assistant professor of bioethics at Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine, confronting them is his job. He teaches courses in genetic ethics, moral theology and Catholic bioethics and provides ethics consultation to Loyola University Medical Center on difficult cases, including neonatal and end-of-life care.

Although others have generated plenty of heat around these controversial issues, Hardt has instead found love, forgiveness and grace, even in some of life’s darkest moments.

“I have the privilege of working with patients and families at singularly difficult times as they face their own mortality, the loss of a loved one or the altered expectations of lives splintered by tragedy,” says Hardt, who has a doctoral degree in theological ethics from Boston College. “The magnitude of these losses often reveals the depth and dignity of their humanity.”

A prolific writer and in-demand public speaker, Hardt sheds light on the often-murky area where matters of conscience and medical necessity collide in a variety of public forums, including the President’s Council on Bioethics in Washington, D.C.

Hardt approaches issues from a Catholic perspective — one that his Jesuit education helped develop.

“Marquette provided me exemplars of what a life lived to the fullest might look like,” he says.


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