Ask Your Doctor if They Believe in God

Forget examining the medical degree on the wall of your doctor's office. Don't ask where they did their residency. Don't wonder what prestigious scientific journals published their work. Ask your doctor about their belief in God. If you don't it could cost you your life.

The Guardian is reporting on a study:
Doctors who are atheist or agnostic are twice as likely to take decisions that might shorten the life of somebody who is terminally ill as doctors who are deeply religious – and doctors with strong religious convictions are less likely even to discuss such decisions with the patient, according to Professor Clive Seale, from the centre for health sciences at Barts and the London school of medicine and dentistry.

"If I were a patient facing end of life care, I would want to know what my doctor's views were on religious matters – whether they are non-religious or religious and whether the doctor felt that would influence them in the kinds of decisions they were looking at," said Seale.

A patient who wanted their life prolonged at all costs in the event of a terminal illness, or did not want it prolonged, should make sure they had a doctor who was in sympathy with this.

Doctors are influenced by their beliefs, just as other people are, said Seale.

"It is easy for clinicians to present themselves as neutral appliers of science, but values do come into it," he said.
Anyone who's had a loved one in a hospital knows that you sometimes have to fight for their lives. A Catholic hospital tried to overdose my father to death and a secular hospital attempted to starve my brother.

This is one of the reasons the battle for integrity of Catholic hospitals matters so much. This is why the culture of life is about a heck of a lot more than abortion.

So ask your doctor about their belief in God. They'll probably freak but hey, at least you can share the story with us over here. But really, why would you put your life in the hands of someone who doesn't believe that life is sacred at every moment of the spectrum?

Comments

  1. All of which makes me think of the introductory chapter of Chesterton's Heretics, specifically:

    "But there are some people, nevertheless--and I am one of them-- who think that the most practical and important thing about a man is still his view of the universe. We think that for a landlady considering a lodger, it is important to know his income, but still more important to know his philosophy. We think that for a general about to fight an enemy, it is important to know the enemy's numbers, but still more important to know the enemy's philosophy. We think the question is not whether the theory of the cosmos affects matters, but whether in the long run, anything else affects them. In the fifteenth century men cross-examined and tormented a man because he preached some immoral attitude; in the nineteenth century we feted and flattered Oscar Wilde because he preached such an attitude, and then broke his heart in penal servitude because he carried it out. It may be a question which of the two methods was the more cruel; there can be no kind of question which was the more ludicrous. The age of the Inquisition has not at least the disgrace of having produced a society which made an idol of the very same man for preaching the very same things which it made him a convict for practising."

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  2. My primary care doctor has bible quotes in the exam rooms. Never talked to him about it, though.

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  3. Sad thing is that a companion article in the Guardian identified the Theistic doctors as the potential problem.

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  4. Write a living will. Get it recorded and make sure you have discussed your wishes at length with your proxy (who presumably has the same values and/or faith as you).
    Yes, overzealous culture-of-death types can try to override your wishes. But, if you have a strong person who is aware of your desires and the requirements of your faith, you can circumvent a lot of the things they may try to push on you.
    Make sure your proxy knows to contact a priest who understands your decisions so you have a backup with you in the hospital.
    Really, this should be every Catholic in America's duty to themselves and especially their elders and children.
    Pray for everyone who is facing such decisions without the guidance of a living will.

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  5. One other thing- I have found there is a strong bias against living wills by Catholics because we see them as something for people who promote euthanasia for the elderly & terminally ill. BUT there is no reason these legal structures cant work for and within the Catholic belief system for end-of-life.
    Do this today! Please.

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  6. « But really, why would you put your life in the hands of someone who doesn't believe that life is sacred at every moment of the spectrum? »

    Does that spectrum include babbling incoherently from prolonged suffering?

    If you read the article more closely, you’ll find it says something quite different than “Atheist doctors will kill you!”. It shows that godless physicians are more likely to talk to their patients about their end-of-life choices and will advise them – not force them – to take the route of least suffering. Whereas, religious doctors tend to avoid even telling terminal patients about their choices and do whatever they can to keep them alive for as long as they can, even if it means in agony and/or complete helplessness.

    There’s no glory, dignity or point in slowly wasting away in a hospital bed because you believe life is sacred.

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