John Graner, MD
Graner J.; Physicians and Patient Spirituality. Ann Intern Med. 2000;133:748. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-133-9-200011070-00028
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2000;133(9):748.
TO THE EDITOR:
Post and colleagues' assertion (1) that “the health care market presses providers in a more holistic direction … that includes attentiveness to patient spirituality,” has an oxymoronic flavor to it, worthy of a comment from William Osler's alter ego, Egerton Yorrick Davis (2). The danger here, of course, is the bringing of any aspect of religion into the “marketplace.” Because of this danger, we must be ever-diligent to prevent a misguided religiosity in the clinic or hospital. I have seen religious icons hanging in individual physicians' offices, perhaps in an attempt to announce to their patients that they are indeed religious people. This I believe to be inappropriate. Likewise, in an article in which (ironically) Dr. Larson is also quoted (3), the author proudly quotes a hospital physician, when talking to the mother of a sick child about her child's possible recovery, as telling her that her daughter “will tell us whether she wants to go to heaven.” This statement is cited as an example of how “religious” a place that hospital happens to be. It makes little difference in an ethical sense (although perhaps a great difference in a “marketplace” sense) whether this statement was greeted with appreciation or horror by the mother. In either case it is clearly inexcusable. Let us not foist our religious beliefs on others. Unfortunately, the religious zealot now has the almighty power of the “health care market” to invoke as an excuse for such self-assertion.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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