General

Spirituality and healthcare

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28 Jun 2016 - General
 

Religuous or not, our beliefs may affect the relationship we have with our patients and our management plans. A non-religious physician should not underestimate the importance of the patient's beliefs and a religious one should not impose his or her beliefs onto the patient. Respect for the patient's autonomy should transcend our ideology at all times. Eg: Jehovah's witness patient should not be transfused with blood products upon their request even if we as physicians believe it to be life-saving. Personally, I struggle with the fact that bilateral tubal ligation is not allowed in certain religious states in my country despite request by patients. Asian are by and large a more spiritual group of people. Have there been instances where your faith affected your work or a patient's believe your treatment for him or her?

Thanks Dr Kong for bringing this matter up. It's always challenging for healthcare providers to make decisions when the ethics of autonomy vs beneficence are at conflicting end. I think in the case of a competent adult, autonomy stands. However, parental authority, though widely accepted, is not absolute. As expressed by the US Supreme Court, “Parents are free to become martyrs themselves. But it does not follow that they are free, in identical circumstances, to make martyrs of their childre...
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Dr Amit, that is quite interesting, what eventually happen to the lady who refuse examination? My countrymen are mostly of the Islamic faith. Not wishing to be examined by a male doctor is very common. I once had to deliver a baby with fetal bradycardia and poor maternal effort with vacuum assistance despite having no prior experience, while my male senior colleague gave me instructions behind the curtain. Despite my best efforts to explain to the patient and her husband of the dire need for a s...
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In India, we get a variety of religions with different practices. Although most religious practices will have little or no bearing on medical treatment, I have often found religious beliefs to interfere in decision making. For instance, the other day, a young female patient referred to me for blood-stained nipple discharge refused to get examined by me because her religious beliefs forbade her from being examined by a male doctor. People from the Hindu faith will not consider doing any major sur...
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Several patients who want to have bilateral tubal ligations done would end up seeking treatment in government institutions as most private institutions for us here are Catholic run. Our OBs in government institutions do not do the ligation outright either as they need to asses if the patient is fully aware what this procedure entails. I have found that my faith and the faith of my patients should be respected. It is more though our responsibility as the health care professional to be more mindfu...
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Spirituality on healthcare providers living in an Asian country has a big impact perhaps. In my personal experience as a Catholic working in a private Catholic institution has made a great difference in the lives of our patients. Simple pastorsl services such as offering annointing of the sick, confession, communion and event Sacred of Marriage for those who are sick are just one of the services our hospital offers to its patients. Most especially Catholic patients will highly appreciate you pra...
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