Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Doctors want right to talk faith

Doctors and nurses want the right to discuss spiritual issues with patients. I think this is wrong. The National Secular Society has said "If we say it is ok for doctors and nurses to provide spiritual care and pray for patients it can all too quickly get out of hand and we will have staff preaching on the wards". I agree.

Reading the article the emphasis seems to be on Christians discussing Christianity. Doctors and nurses should stick to medical care. If we allow this will we see patient care suffering because a nurse is discussing religion with a patient while I wait for medical attention? Do I want a doctor telling me how I should be a Christian? (Or a Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist for that matter?) And what about atheist doctors and nurses? Will the same doctors and nurses who want this right be happy to have a colleague telling a dying patient there is no God, no afterlife?

I can envisage major conflicts when a Christian nurse tries to tell a Hindu patient to convert, and might this lead to segregation according to faith?

And besides, don't hospitals have chaplains of various faiths to satisfy the religious needs of patients?

I go to my doctor for health care and if I were religious I would go to my church or temple for spiritual guidance. Keep the two separate or we will be entering a moral minefield.


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