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DO & religion "the whole person"

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by bkdavis, Dec 10, 2001.

  1. Dr. A.T. Still was a religious man from my understanding. How does the DO profession take into account religion, religious principles, and miracles as part of treating the whole person.
    "Mind, Body & Spirit"?
     
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  3. Medic171

    Medic171 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    I talk about the religion part of your question in a moment. As far as mind, body, and spirit, Osteopathic medicine teaches that the body, mind, and spirit function together and are intertwined in maintaining health and homeostasis. Imbalance or disease in the mind affects the body and spirit,and vice versa. Spirit is a relative term and osteopathic medicine recognizes spirit(so to speak). We all have a certain drive to survive and to be, a "life force" if you will.... the bodies ability to heal itself is a better way to describe it with the osteopathic philosophy. D.O. physicians(in theory) are supposed to recognize this when Dx and Rx disease, not just looking at the disease or injury, but studying it's impact on the entire body, mind, and spirit(as defined above). The body ultimately has the ability to heal itself and return to homeostasis, and the D.O. assists it with medications, procedures, lifestyle recs, and or OMT.. ect. They treat very similar to an M.D. most of the time, but in theory there are some differences in how disease in seen and treated. A quick example off the top of my head, an MD may treat chronic pain with an analgesic, where as a DO may treat the same patient with an analgesic, AND OMT, while searching "outside the box", so to speak, for the source of the imbalance that is causing the pain

    Osteopathic medicine as a branch of science, a profession, and an institution, does not teach, advocate, or use any religions or religious principals. A physician, M.D. or D.O., starting a private practice, however, could endorse and practice their religion at their practice. It has been done


    religion is not, and should not be, taught in med school because of the variety of opinions in the population. DO's are taught to practice science, which is universal to everyone in the physical world. I mean, religion is largly open to personal opinion and belief, where as the laws of chemistry, biology and physics are universal and do not change(as far as current tested theories go).

    However, I know of a few DOs and MD's who intergrated Christianity into their practice after med school, and one who uses Muslim. They practice medicine as any other doc would, but they add Christian counseling and prayer to the healing arts of medicine.

    For example, a patient was examined and tested for H/A and the doc concluded a Dx of classical migraines. The D.O. I was volunteering with treated this patient as follows: Midrin prn at onset of a migraine, OMT 2-4 times per month to the neck area and head, and after each visit the doc, patient, and patient's husband would also say a prayer with joined hands for the Lord's blessing and healing. Her migraines were about 80% less frequent last time I saw her, and I have not been back or followed up since.

    Whatever your religion; I think that if you start a practice and do not mind narrowing the diversity of your practice, than it is ok to integrate your beliefs into your practice.(your pt load would likely be mostly people of the religion you hold and advertise). Of course, you would have to accept the fact that you would catch some criticism from some fellow docs, form atheists, and from people who hold religious beliefs other than the one promoted and used in your practice. In my experience, it is actually well accepted, and those people who do not share your beliefs simply see another physician.

    95% of the world's population believes in a Supreme Being(s) in one form or another. To state an objective point of view, I see it like this...either (<insert your religious beliefs here&gt ;) exists and the prayer can help heal, or if the pt. believes that (<insert your religious beliefs here&gt ;) is real and believes the prayer will help, thereby creating a placebo effect for the prayer. So it seems to me that either way the patient would benefit.

    So, one would just have to ask oneself how strong his/her religious beliefs are, and decide if he/she wants to limit his/her patient load to folks who share those beliefs, not discriminating per-say, but indirectly doing so by practicing a religion that not everyone believes in, with medicine.

    That is my 2 cents, sorry for the long response, but I needed to do a quick extra credit opinion essay before finals, and this subject became my topic as well as a much overdone and overindulged reply to your question .
     
  4. TCOM-2005

    TCOM-2005 Junior Member 7+ Year Member

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    As part of our curriculum we have week long clinical integrations between the various systems. Our last one was specifically on spirituality in medicine.
     
  5. Stephen Ewen

    Stephen Ewen 10+ Year Member

     
  6. John DO

    John DO A.T. Still Endowed Chair 7+ Year Member

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    we burn incense and say chants to A.T.
     
  7. Teufelhunden

    Teufelhunden 1K Member Physician 10+ Year Member

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    As far as the incense and chants go...I hear at Nova they do! Nothing against Nova, I think it's a great school, however, I've heard that they're kind of koo-koo when it comes to OMM. Thank God that here at OUCOM there's no talk of "spirituality," well...not yet at least.

    However, there is a huge picture of Still in our lecture hall (it's like 8' high, I'm not kidding). It's kind of spooky if you ask me...with that big crazy goatee and all...
     
  8. Amra

    Amra A Quiet Voice of Reason 10+ Year Member

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    Medic171: great points!
     
  9. John DO

    John DO A.T. Still Endowed Chair 7+ Year Member

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    We have you beat, Teufel; in our entry hall we have a huge brick outcropping of A.T.'s face overlooking his original home and the American School of Osteopathy building. That outcropping
    (probably 10 feet tall or so, from the ceiling down) looks like it watches you everywhere you go.
     
  10. dksf

    dksf Junior Member 7+ Year Member

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    teufelhunden- "Thank God that here at OUCOM there's no talk of "spirituality," well...not yet at least." - you just did. ha!
    Everyone brings there own beliefs and diversified spirituality. That is what makes life so intersting. I personally think the "MIND/BODY/SPIRIT" is a fantastic principle that is used to recruit students to come to medical schools more than it is used as a course at medical schools.
     
  11. Teufelhunden

    Teufelhunden 1K Member Physician 10+ Year Member

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    That's just creepy. And we wonder why the allo's make fun of us.
     
  12. BamaAlum

    BamaAlum 10+ Year Member

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    That's okay, at UAB they have a huge bronze outcropping of Tinsley Harrison(of Harrison's Principles of Internal Medcine fame) on the side of the building that bears his name. So, the MD's aren't above it either.
     
  13. stomper627

    stomper627 Go Cougs!!! 7+ Year Member

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    We at LECOM have you all beat....

    http://www.ajuel.com/Lecom%20framepage.htm

    Our dean and president like to portray themselves as Gods....these pillars are to be erected in the Atrium at LECOM....
    I love how my tuition money is spent!...Just glad Im an MSIII and dont have to deal with it anymore!!!
    stomper
     
  14. Teufelhunden

    Teufelhunden 1K Member Physician 10+ Year Member

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    OMFG! That takes the cake! LECOM is now the hands-down, undisputed winner!
     
  15. bustbones26

    bustbones26 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Yes yes, I too am a LECOM student and all I can say is this. the dean and president of our school have to realize that a man in the past did indeed try to build the prefect empire and human race by making himself a god and forcing people to listen to his ridiculous rules.

    Unfortunately, that man caused the second world war
     
  16. Elysium

    Elysium Not Really An Old Beaver 7+ Year Member

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    That LECOM sh!t is just scary! What is wrong with those people? Wouldn't you be embarrased to see yourself in marble?

    Spooky!

    :eek:
     
  17. sleep deprived

    sleep deprived Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    "Dr. A.T. Still was a religious man from my understanding. How does the DO profession take into account religion, religious principles, and miracles as part of treating the whole person.
    "Mind, Body & Spirit"?"

    Religion and miracles are not part of osteopathic philosaphy and practice.
    We are taught "mind body spirit" but it is not taught in conjunction with any kind of religious perspective. Religion is a seperate matter from osteopathy.
    After having said that, it is kind of weird how the profession tends to "worship" AT still and put certain individuals up on a pedastal. It's kind of cultist at times.....I think.
     
  18. Echinoidea

    Echinoidea Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    .....sooooooo glad I am not going to LECOM. :rolleyes: That place is just weird.......
     
  19. DoctorInSpace

    DoctorInSpace Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Medic,

    You make some excellent points. Since so many people do believe in a higher being (and we might even know this about each particular patient we have), it isn't so far fetched to suggest that our patients consult their religious/spiritual advisor in times of need, especially at end-of-life situations. If a patient comes in with depression or feelings of helplessness, pointing them to their religious/spiritual leader is not unheard of. Yes, a psychiatrist or psychotherapist may indeed be helpful, but a lot of people have very strong religious beliefs, and confide in their religious leaders.

    In terms of Osteopathic Medicine, I think we need to be aware of the fact that people have beliefs in a higher being and understand that each person has different beliefs. If someone believes in Voodoo, and they will only let you perform a certain procedure if they can also perform a brief ceremony, then isn't it in the patient's best interest to let them perform the ceremony (provided it is no risk to anyone) so that you can do your life-saving procedure? There is a tolerance that we must have to the variety of religious beliefs that are out there, regardless of what your personal beliefs are.

    Basically, because 95% of the world believes in a higher power, we need to be sensitive to those needs of our patients.
     
  20. group_theory

    group_theory EX-TER-MIN-ATE!' Administrator Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    WOW!!! :eek:

    Some of the marbles are just ... scary


    "12th Century god of Aesculapius manifests himself to modern dean of the osteopathic medical school, Dr. Silvia Ferretti of LECOM in ten feet marble columns."

    "Dr. John Ferretti, Founder of LECOM and shepherd of the last child left behind, without health care."

    "Dr. John Ferretti. Alter glass, symbol of consecration of his gift of LECOM to Erie. Owl symbol of the wisdom he brought to LECOM from the Millcreek Community Hospital."

    "The battle of the caducean and aesculapian snakes. The allopathic caduceus versus the osteopathic aesculapius."
     
  21. LovelyRita

    LovelyRita Blade Slinger 10+ Year Member

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    where it's bleeding
  22. smgilles

    smgilles Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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  23. sleep deprived

    sleep deprived Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Has the school commented on this at all to the students?
    You know, I go to NYCOM and while NYCOM did not erect statues for our previous dean, I did notice a phenomenon where certain faculty really put our previous dean up on a pedastal. Our previous dean was the founder of NYCOM the same way this guy was the founder of LECOM.
    I thought it was weird how the web site says their figures erect "the true continuum of medical history" toward the bottom of the page. Is that implying something?
     
  24. njdo

    njdo Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    The administration doesn't make any mention of the marble columns. Heck, once they're in place, we aren't even allowed to use the Atrium (since we aren't allowed to use it now). While I defend LECOM on a lot of instances, this ordeal with the statues is just sick. According to them both, no school funds are being used to purchase them.
    This is the reason why you should not have family members in administration together (or in fact, a whole school run by a group of friends and relatives). Do you think the board of directors is going to tell Dr. Silvia and Dr. John that they can't put marble columns of themselves in the school? They're all pals. And as for Dr. John taking credit for being the founder of LECOM...hell, he wasn't even the first President. Dr. Ron Esper is the one who deserves credit for pushing the approval of the school with the AOA. If you talk to either of them (Silvia and John) one-on-one, they really don't have a clue as to the day-to-day operations of the school---the one says the opposite of the other. And for cameras being in every crevice of the school, you'd think they'd know more. Their concerns are appearances, money, board scores, money, rules, and maybe education. The education part they're honestly doing a good job on.

    Ok, I'm getting off my soapbox now.

    njdo
     
  25. bustbones26

    bustbones26 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Many people erect statues and "memorials" to great people at their schools, not just med school, but other schools as well. Usually these people are great figures that contibuted to the school somehow, they are usually not people that are alive and certainly are not people that erected the statue themselves. usually somebody puts the statue there as a tribute to you.

    I like how Dr. Ferretti takes credit for founding LECOM, that is bold since Dr. Esper, a former AOA president founded LECOM. The ONLY reason why LECOM exist is because Dr. Esper was AOA president, practiced in Erie, PA, and deemed it so. The Ferrettis ought to line up and kiss his ass instead of making him sit in front of the school doing "tie checks"
     
  26. Globus P

    Globus P Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Looks like the dean was on "Extreme Makeover" before being sculpted for the marble.

    Freaky indeed
     
  27. VentdependenT

    VentdependenT You didnt build thaT Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    No. Medicine has come a long way from mercury infusions and other such humerous treatments. There should be no incorporation of religion in this field. That should not, however, influence a patient's decision in his/her medical treatment (even though studies have shown that a spiritual anchor improves an individual's outcome). As a physician you shouldn't be incorporating God as a model of clincal practice. If you want to believe in miracles join a weird church and push chicken fat and red no. 5 out of small holes in a religious artifact, and call it the blood of whatever deity you believe in.
     
  28. LukeWhite

    LukeWhite USC Pulm/CCM 2014 Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Vent, you act as if the position of physician is some governmental office that can't be tainted with the slightest hint of partiality to faith. This is an argument that seems to come up often on SDN, and for the life of me, I don't understand how it can be defended.

    Almost without exception, patients have choice in the physician they see, or at the very least whether or not to see the physician at all. If a doctor feels that it's necessary to incorporate faith into practice, I see no reasonable medical or moral reason not to. A doctor's offer of prayer certainly doesn't harm the patient. In any case, the physician is not some extension of Government--he is practicing a trade.

    It's interesting that separation of church and state has been metamorphosed in the minds of many into something like, "Keep that crazy religion talk in the privacy of your own home; don't contaminate your public dealings with it." You compare religion with mercury treatments: are you so very convinced that, say, a joint prayer or scripture posted on the examining room walls will have roughly the same negative effect as high doses of a toxic heavy metal?

    I, for one, am not going hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt in order to conform to some vague undercurrent of progressive social mores or position statements by the AMA. Setting aside all the many arguments about the fairness of including faith in medicine, it's my degree, and so long as I obey the law and don't harm patients, I'll practice however I please. You have the same right, and if one way is tangibly better I'm sure the market will bear that out.
     
  29. VentdependenT

    VentdependenT You didnt build thaT Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Point taken. Yes I understand that folks seek out doctors that incorporate religion into their lives. It is their decision. I am not against being spiritual. It adds flavor to existence.

    However, a "miracle" or a "prayer session" didn't invent life saving chemotherapy or a minimally invasive laproscopy suite. It isn't going to save my patients either. My clinical skills and the help of other hard working docs will. Spirituality has its place. People who are confident and less mentally drained because of a basal faith in something higher do tend to have a stronger working immune systems. That is related to decreased endogenous hormonal factors.
     
  30. Teufelhunden

    Teufelhunden 1K Member Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Please don't proselytize to your patients. Your patients don't come to you to have their souls "saved." If you want to save souls, join the clergy.

    The last thing a Jewish, Muslim or Hindu patient needs to hear from their doctor while on his deathbed is: "Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?"

    Think about how downright insulting that would be. Please respect people's religious beliefs, and don't EVER use your role as physician to try to convert people to your set of beliefs.
     
  31. LukeWhite

    LukeWhite USC Pulm/CCM 2014 Physician 10+ Year Member

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    ...And there we have the same line again. Let's say for the sake of argument that I plan to proselytize like there's no tomorrow, with bible verses on every leaf of my Rx pad, a prayer with the physical, and lectures on What Would Jesus Do to go along with my counseling on smoking cessation and weight loss.

    Why not? We live in a great country with all sorts of physicians and all sorts of patients. Most people switch their primary care provider at whim, choosing from a long list their HMO provides. As difficult as it may be to believe, there's a fairly large segment of the population that prefers that their doctors be of the same religious bent.

    I'm not sure why this strikes people as so strange or unconscionable. If you were a parent who believed that abortion takes a human life, wouldn't you want to choose a doctor whom you knew would not provide that option for your pregnant sixteen-year old daughter? If you were a devout Confucian, might you not prefer a physician who incorporated evidence-based eastern medicine out of a conviction of the same philosophical and religious convictions?

    The inevitable counterargument: Many people don't have a choice in their physician; they shouldn't be subjected to any sort of Christianity (let's call a spade a spade: this is really an argument people make against Christian physicians specifically) when they go to the doctor.

    This, of course, neglects the fact that the only reason many of the underserved have a doctor in the first place is because Christian physicians practice in those places out of a sense of religious calling. You can debate its validity all you want, but the simple fact is that if Christianity ceased to exist, the plight of the underserved in the United States and abroad would instantly become far more severe.

    As far as I can see it, then, you're either in the position of denying those facts (which is a steeply uphill battle) or arguing that Christian physicians, or really physicians of any religious persuasion, should hold on to that part of their fath that compels them to practice where other, more enlightened doctors choose not to while at the same time denying that part of the faith that compels them to tell others why they're practicing there in the first place.

    Now, it's quite possible that I've been so blinded by arbitrary religious fervor that I'm missing something, but that doesn't make too much sense to me. Speaking only for myself, I can say that were it not for my religious faith, I would be pursuing a far different career with far more tangible rewards. If I did go to med school without that faith, I'd be going into a specialty with a far higher money to hassle ratio than family practice. And, were it not for the faith, I wouldn't be angling for a practice in the remote medicaid-heavy areas that can't draw a doctor to save, literally, their lives.

    And there are many more besides in exactly the same situation. Think what you like about religion or any of its specific variants, but I've got this theory that if you ask a woman whose child hasn't been able to get a proper doctor's visit for a year whether she'd prefer to keep the status quo or to have a doctor there who might, in the course of the visit, mention faith, she won't have to take too long thinking about it.

    The argument to the contrary is the worst sort of ivory tower. For my part, I'm a fan of philosophies that have a direct positive impact of people's lives, and when I encounter one that does, I find it awfully hard to argue too strenuously against it.
     
  32. LloydDObler

    LloydDObler Member 7+ Year Member

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    If a mother hadn't had a doctor's visit for her child for over a year, of course she wouldn't mind a little prayer thrown in. If her child was extremely ill, she would likely go to any length to make her child well. Preying on a mother's fear is not the most loving way to get your point across. Using a physician's power to force religion upon someone is unacceptable, regardless of the physician's intention.

    Of course some physicians choose to practice medicine because of a spiritual calling. People in all professions are motivated by philosophies, some religious and some not. This doesn't mean said philosophy should enter into the service these people provide. What if a school teacher is teaching in the inner city because of her religious calling? Does that give her the right to pray with her class?

    I would love for physicians-heck, everyone, for that matter- to put their mission statements on the door. Then I would know who to go to and who not to. I would be able to make the choice of who to see because I am privileged enough to have other options. The mother you are describing doesn't. And I hope you aren't implying the people receiving free or reduced cost healthcare here or abroad should expect to have strings attached.

    I wouldn't assume that most physicians willing to take medicaid patients are doing so because they are sacrificing their own livelyhood in the name of religion. Personal motivations are far too unique to make such a blanket statement.
     
  33. LukeWhite

    LukeWhite USC Pulm/CCM 2014 Physician 10+ Year Member

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    A thoughtful post, but I have to take issue with a few key points.

    I in fact am saying that people receiving health care from anywhere should expect to have whatever strings attached the doctor they visit provides, provided such strings are within the boundaries of law and good patient care. People have the freedom to do most whatever they please, and I see no reason for this not to extend to physicians. If a doctor wants to go overseas or into the worst parts of East Chicago with the express purpose of opening a religiously-oriented clinic, again I ask, why not? I've yet, in the three recent posts arguing that religion has no place in medicine, to hear a real argument against this. It's fine to argue that it's wrong for a physician to force religion upon patients, but the burden of proof certainly rests with you to argue that anyone's advocating that.

    I'm glad you brought up the example of the teacher, as it highlights the key misunderstanding swirling around this idea of religion and medicine. Most teachers would NOT be free to pray (at least a sectarian) prayer with their class for the simple reason that most schools are public schools, founded by a government constitutionally bound not to promote or restrict any single religion.

    This obviously isn't the case for most physicians. The key assumption beneath all these arguments against religion in medicine seems to be that the social duty of the physician is equivalent to the civic duty of the government employee. Certainly not. If you took away every overtly religious social structure, there wouldn't be nearly as much society left. Government is secular precisely so that the nonsecular parts of society can flourish as they please. One of thsoe parts, if ever so small, is a privately employed physician's office.

    There are a good many people who would like to see that separation of church and state be extended to a separation of church and society. That's the trend underlying these recent arguments, and it's baseless unless one's to argue against the idea of religion or privately-practiced medicine in general.

    I'm a fan of both, and understand that there's no explaining to those who aren't the idea that the two can work together as inseparable parts of the same general goal. So I don't bother. I do, however, think it's worth all the time lost on these threads to point out the obvious: it's a free country, physicians in America aren't bureaucratic slaves, and if you don't like what a doctor's doing with his power in an underserved area, move there yourself and offer an alternative. Heaven knows there's enough business to go around.

    I know of at least one person arguing against religion in medicine on this thread, though, who's on the record in the forums as saying he won't go into primary care because he wants compensation proportional to his years of education. There are many primary care physicians who take sizable pay cuts or who work full-time without pay because their faith leads them to do so. Seems awfully gutsy to me to be telling people to keep their faith out of medicine while at the same time disdaining primary care in general because its compensation isn't quite up to what one considers deserved. Again, if you have a problem with faith and medicine, it seems to me the most honest course isn't to condemn; it's to compete.

    Somehow, though, I don't think that we'll see too many committed atheists opening up their nonsectarian inner city clinics. It's just not that high on the priorities list.
     
  34. Teufelhunden

    Teufelhunden 1K Member Physician 10+ Year Member

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    I totally agree, that if the doctor and patient share religious beliefs and the patient asks the doctor to pray with them, discuss religious matters with them, etc...that's perfectly fine. Again, as long as the patient initiates it, I see no problem with intermingling prayer/religion with medicine.

    And I do agree, that many patients prefer a doctor who shares their religious beliefs, and if a doctor wanted to make that know, with that Christian 'fish' symbol, or whatever....again, I see no problem with that.

    However, as an agnostic, I would find it appalling for my doctor to bring up religious issues with me (beyond the normal questioning of religious preference in an initial H&P). To restate that: I would be moritified if my doctor tried to influence me to pray, or to believe in Christ, or whatever. I don't go to a doctor for spiritual counseling; I go to a doctor for medical care.

    I'm sorry that you don't see how blantantly disrespectful it would be to prosylitize from the bedside. It is unprofessional at best. I, personally, find it downright offensive.

    lukealfredwhite, are you advocating prosylitizing to your patients? For example, if you had Hundu, Muslim, Jewish, Wiccan, Athiest, Agnostic or otherwise non-Christian patients, would you engage in efforts to convert or "save" them?

    If so, let me ask you this...

    How would you feel if you went to a lawyer to discuss some legal matter, and she attempted to convert you to Buddism during your initial visit?

    Say you have your financial planner over your house to discuss invesment options, and he pulls out the Tao Te Ching and asks if he can read some passages to you, and then asks if you'd be willing to convert to Taoism?

    Perhaps your argument is that you'd simply find another lawyer, accountant, etc. However, as doctors I believe we have more of a committment to serve people in our communities with no regard to their religion, i.e. we shouldn't chase away patients who don't have the same religious beliefs as us, which is exactly what you'll be doing if you choose to attempt to prosylitize to your non-Christian patients.

    In some communities, where there are limited options, a physician who does this could potentially limit the healthcare access to those in the community who don't want a sermon everytime they get a checkup.

    Please, I just ask you to respect other peoples' beliefs, which means...if you know your patient is an atheist, don't try to "save" them...that's not what your job is...not even close.
     
  35. LloydDObler

    LloydDObler Member 7+ Year Member

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    Luke,

    The place I lived before starting DO school had three providers of free or discounted healthcare to underserved people. None of them had religious affiliations. Of course the hospitals did, but that's a whole other issue. Please stop saying that most providers of healthcare to underserved are religous in nature. Or at least show the data to prove it.

    Two of the three providers receive government funding, so you might say that this is why they don't offer religion as part of their care. One of those two is giving up government funding because of all of the strings associated with receiving it After that happens, I guarantee that they won't be changing their mission to provide care AND religion to the masses. Some people do good things without parading the reasons why out for everyone to see.

    You're of the mindset that doctors are private business owners first and that they should be able to do whatever they want. You think that those who can afford to choose providers are free to do so. You're right. Its a free society. Doctors will find out quickly if their style of religion/medicine fulfills a need in their communities. I don't disagree with this. Your approach in dealing with the underserved is where I fundmentally disagree with you.

    The arrogance and presumptuousness that you use when speaking about underserved is stunning. You act as if you are their savior, going into their community and providing care at the sacrifice of your lifestyle (I have yet to know of a poor physician, primary care or not, by the way).

    Yes, those poor people deserve whatever you want to dish out because you are willing to treat their ailments? How Christian is this? Talk about doctor ego! And then you leave the burden onto the physicians not choosing to preach and treat to go in and offer competition to the prostelytizing doctor?

    There is no end to this argument. Many people don't have a choice when it comes to their healthcare. Please treat them with respect and don't push your values on them. People are looking to you for help. There is a huge difference between a private physician and any other "business" in a community. Comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges. Yes, ultimately, a private physician has the ability to do whatever s/he wants, but I thought it was supposed to be more the needs of the patients.
     
  36. LukeWhite

    LukeWhite USC Pulm/CCM 2014 Physician 10+ Year Member

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    I think there tends to be no end to the argument, as you say, because people don't read what's written.

    First, I've never said that most underserved health care is religious in nature. That's clearly not the case. What I did say is that were all healthcare of an overtly religious nature taken away, the plight of the underserved would be far worse. That's clearly true. The fact that the majority of underserved healthcare is not of a religious nature doesn't mean that which is isn't critical. Again, I could give examples to anyone interested, or discuss what a parish nurse's day is like, but it's beside the point.

    Second misinterpretation I'll take issue with: If I were arguing with someone setting up a hypothetical example, I'd personally be fairly careful about attributing the qualities of that hypothetical to them. I've never claimed an intent to run an overtly Christian practice, with healthcare contingent on little sermons and the like. I personally think that tends to be counterproductive, and that's why we don't see it too often. I do, however, defend the right of those who choose to practice that way to do so.

    To answer Teuf's question: I have no problem with people trying to convert me to another faith under any circumstances. To a nonreligious, faith may seem like an arbitrary thing, but to those who do adhere to a faith, their religion appears to them as eminently reasonable. Reasonable people are willing to be persuaded of reasonable arguments and sometimes engage in persuading others of arguments they consider reasonable. From an evangelical Christian's standpoint, discussing faith with a patient is no less arbitrary than discussing how they can stop smoking or lower their weight.

    Finally, to address the argument that I'm somehow displaying arrogance by noting that many people of various faiths sacrifice lifestyle to work in underserved areas: I'm not sure how that's arrogance, unless one does consider himself a savior. Obviously, people of faith don't, since they have other saviors in mind that they'd like to talk about. I'm sure that everyone at their worst feels a sense of self-importance, but that's not the motivation behind a life of service, and I can't recall saying anything suggesting otherwise. To think that one is doing a good thing isn't arrogance; to think that one's responsible for the good is.

    As for your failure to meet any poor doctors, I can only suggest that you look around. Most of them are overseas, but there are a few in Houston working with the Catholic charities that take no salary, there are others across the nation that take a sizable pay cut in group practice so that one or more of their group can always be overseas doing missions work, etc. It's simply a fact that there are religious physicians who drastically lower their quality of life in order to serve the poor and to spread their faith. You're free to condemn it all you want, but personally I'd be more interested in figuring out why they do it in the first place.
     
  37. Teufelhunden

    Teufelhunden 1K Member Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Uhhh....except that smoking cessation and weight loss aren't arbitrary...they're ligitimate medical concerns that physicians must discuss with their patients. Someone's particular religious beliefs have NOTHING to do with their health. So, there's a big difference there.

    All this talk about "reasonable people." Listen, most "reasonable people" I know don't want their doctors, lawyers, accoutants, bosses, next door neighbors....ANYONE for that matter, trying to influence there religious beliefs.

    I have never met one single solitary person who actually likes having other people prosylitize to them!

    It's simple. If respect other people's religions, you don't try to convert them to yours. Your problem is, you don't respect other peoples' religious beliefs.

    Let me ask you this? Do you respect other peoples' religious beliefs?
     
  38. LukeWhite

    LukeWhite USC Pulm/CCM 2014 Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Forgive me, but that comment suggests either a misunderstanding of or bias against religion in general that isn't going to be modified with argument. Suffice it to say again that devout religious of every stripe don't consider their beliefs arbitrary matters of opinion, but rather beliefs based in evidence and logic. I, for one, always welcome those who want to sell their fath to me. You ask if I respect others' religious beliefs: Of course, otherwise I wouldn't think that they were susceptible to reasoned argument. You seem not to respect religious beliefs in general, treating them as vaguely shameful quirks rather than the reasoned beliefs they are.

    To turn this discussion back to the point of the thread, I can't imagine a type of public health care more suitable to the promotion of faith than osteopathic medicine. It's already been noted that AT Still was a deeply religious man. This is not some outdated modality of osteopathic medicine; rather, faith, that is to say, the belief that humans have spirits which also must be cared for, is a fundamental tenet of the discipline. One can say, "Mind, Body, and Nevermind about that other one" and still be an osteopathic physician, but it's certainly something far different than what Still intended.

    As most people probably know, Still was also a fervent abolitionist, much to the dismay of many. Another feature of osteopathic medicine is that it's able to use its marginalized position to advance causes that some might find offensive. Medicine that unabashedly proclaims the necessity of faith to complete health, as far as I can tell, is about as close as one can get to what the founder of the discipline thought a D.O. should be about.
     
  39. stomper627

    stomper627 Go Cougs!!! 7+ Year Member

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    Uh....when did Religion = Spirituality? You are professing they are the same....they are not. Many people are very spiritual, yet not religious. And many devoutly religious people are not spiritual, because they lack the free will to be.
    This religion is such a great thing....yet its been the cause of every major conflict in recent times. Why? Arent the basic tenets of all religions to love your fellow man?

    stomper
     
  40. care bear

    care bear pink fuzzy user 7+ Year Member

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    first of all, i don't think religion has been the cause of 'most major conflict' in recent times. i would argue that greed and hatred would head that list.

    second, i can only really speak for christianity, but of course the basic tenet is to love your fellow man. however, every action done by a christian, sad to say, is not representative of the religion.

    ( i.e. if a christian leader continually starts wars, fails to practice justice, and shows a lack of compassion for the needy, the problem lies with that leader's practice of religion, not with the religion itself.)
     
  41. LukeWhite

    LukeWhite USC Pulm/CCM 2014 Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Stomper,

    I don't think it's too useful to argue the difference between religion and faith here. I would ask you, though, what exactly you consider the spirit to consist of. Specifically, what part of the person is "spirit" that's neither mind nor body? And for that matter, what part of the mind isn't body?

    Whether or not all osteopathic physicians belive it or whether it's a good motto for a medical discipline, "Mind, Body, Spirit" assumes from the get-go certain things that aren't susceptible to physical medical treatment, but can be healed. The idea of faith is built into the core of osteopathic medicine.

    I'd echo care bear's comments about not painting with too broad a brush regarding religion. I'll say it again: there are many people who give up their livelihoods to practice medicine with little or no compensation because of their faith. Whatever faith drives them to do so, that's a big thing. It strikes me as awfully arbitrary and authoritarian to deny these people the right to speak about the faith that brought them to the group they're serving in the first place.
     
  42. stomper627

    stomper627 Go Cougs!!! 7+ Year Member

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    Yes...now I see it....Religion=Faith=Spirituality....ahhh
    Hmm....and you claim to be so open minded....what about Native Americans who do not believe in a specific religion....are they not spiritual? Do they not have faith?
    Care, possibly the Jews during WWII might have issue with that. Or how about the former Yugoslavia? Or even yet....was 9/11 not masterminded by someone who misused, and abused a religion?
    My favorite is those that claim to be Christian, tell me I am not a Christian because Im Catholic. For those, I would ask them to define Christianity, and study their Religious History.
    Honestly, I dont care what religions people are, and I dont care where they pray (and that includes school prayer), what upsets me is the door to door, phone calls, and the forcing of religion on me. All of this is done by overzealous Christians (of some denomination). Ive never experience that from any other group....I wonder why?
    Im not stating you cant have icons or even bring religion into your practice. Im just stating that not everyone will agree with you and you will offend a large patient population as people will come to you not for spiritual guidance, but for medical healing....they can get their spiritual guidance elsewhere....they may not be able to go elsewhere for their medical healing.
    stomper
     
  43. LukeWhite

    LukeWhite USC Pulm/CCM 2014 Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Stomper,

    You've skipped the question of what spirituality is, and how it's separate from the mind and body. I'd still be interested in hearing your take on it.

    It's sort of counterproductive to respond, when I say explicitly that there's a difference between religion and faith, that I'm saying that religion and faith are equivalent. Again I'd ask which view is more arbitrary: the one that seeks to convince and be convinced, or the one that would rather shut down the discussion before it starts?

    Funny, that you bring up native Americans, many cultures of which have some of the most explicity faith-based healing systems known to man. I doubt one would have much luck going to the local shaman and informing him that you'd prefer that he do his job without any of that faith stuff thrown in.

    I don't think arguments about Massive Bad Things Caused By Religion are very helpful. That's an attack on religion in general, and as such it's really beside the point. I would suggest, however, that short of an Inquisition or sudden shift to Sharia law, no one's forcing their religion on you. People are free to express their opinions on faith and to attempt to convert others. You're free to ignore them or to try to convince them they're wrong. To claim that it's being forced upon you, or that it would be forced upon patients, is a classic case of distorting language in order to make a bad idea like restricting freedom of speech and religion sound better than it is.

    As for your rhetorical question of why you tend to only see evangelical Christians practicing evangelism, what's your take on why it's so?

    Personally, though, I can think of many other faiths that actively evangelize. Let's remember that the stereotypical man-with-pamphlets-in-the-airport isn't generally Christian. What IS somewhat unique is the tying of that evangelism to serving society. That's something unusual, and I consider it admirable even when I don't share the religious viewpoint of its practitioners. If a desire to evangelize gets people health care they wouldn't get otherwise, more power to the evangelists, whatever their persuasion.

    Again, I'd point out that at least some of those arguing that people who practice evangelistic medicine are arrogantly hijacking the healthcare of the poor have definite plans to avoid primary care at any cost. It's strange that some can preach about Christians somehow withholding healthcare to the poor by accompanying it with a message while themselves having no intention to serve the poor at all. Of course, it's always easier to tell than to do.
     
  44. LloydDObler

    LloydDObler Member 7+ Year Member

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    "Again, I'd point out that at least some of those arguing that people who practice evangelistic medicine are arrogantly hijacking the healthcare of the poor have definite plans to avoid primary care at any cost. It's strange that some can preach about Christians somehow withholding healthcare to the poor by accompanying it with a message while themselves having no intention to serve the poor at all. Of course, it's always easier to tell than to do."

    And I am also sure that there are all sorts of devout religious folk who aren't planning to go into to primary care, either. Unless you plan to do a healthcare wide study regarding personal motivations compared to speciality, please stop with the insinuations that people of faith are predominantly doing the "dirty work" of providing care to the poor. I assume that you are basing these comments on the few posts by others who are avoiding primary care, and, of course, all of the faith-based healthcare that you keep vaguely referring to. It seems like you are making a generalization that isn't necessarily accurate.
     
  45. LukeWhite

    LukeWhite USC Pulm/CCM 2014 Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Lloyd,

    The last response I made to you was to point out specifically that I wasn't suggesting that people of faith are, as you put it, predominantly doing the dirty work. I'm not sure how much clearer I can make it: There would be a major drop in the quality of healthcare if we didn't have people working in underserved areas because of their faith.

    This does NOT mean either:

    1. That most of the people doing underserved medicine are doing it for religious reasons.

    2. Most of the people who are religious are going into underserved medicine.

    You can draw the Venn diagram for yourself. It's possible for those two circles to overlap, and in fact they do. That's the segment of people doing health care for religious reasons. If they weren't, there would be a major gap in health care; it's not as if other doctors are lined up to take their spots.

    I'm always amazed when people believe that by arguing one thing, someone's "insinuating "just the opposite. For some reason, this keeps happening on the thread, and I'm guessing it's because people have already decided they know what the argument is, and it saves time to respond without carefully reading the posts they're responding to.

    To say again the same thing I've been saying: There's a significant chunk of healthcare provided by people doing it out of religious and sometimes evangelistic motivation. If they weren't doing the work, there would be a significant gaps in underserved health care in places there are not gaps now. There aren't any assumptions or insinuations inherent in that statement; it's simply the way things are, and I'm mystified that anyone, regardless of what they believe otherwise, thinks it's possible to argue otherwise.
     
  46. stomper627

    stomper627 Go Cougs!!! 7+ Year Member

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    Ok, I see, so let me paraphrase you....."You have a right to believe as you want, but you are wrong and damned to hell for it, unless you convert to my religion and let me save you"
    Very open minded of you.....
    Now what happens during your ER rotation in MSIV year or intern year, and someone who got carried away in an S&M lifestyle comes in for a medical emergency? Are you going to damn them to hell for doing this? Are they to profess their sins before you will treat them? Or what about gays who come to you for medical questions? Or what about the 14yo girl who is pregnant? Are you going to be objective in giving her options?
    Very open minded of you Im sure......

    As far as spirituality goes....I dont really believe I can answer that. Why? I dont know how to truly put it in words. The most spiritual place I have stepped foot, was not in a church, but atop Mt. Rainier (Cascade Mtn range outside of seattle) at 14,400 ft. It was the feeling that was there.....that was spiritual, and I believe its different for everyone. YOU choose to find it in your Holy Book, other will not. Are they wrong? Is Wicca not a valid religion? I believe it is.....and is vastly misunderstood. Its more the celebration of Mother Nature....and the spirtuality within each object. What about Buddists? They dont believe in your Holy Book. This could go on and on.....Is everyone wrong but you?

    To bring up the past instances of misunderstanding of religion (Crusades, Inquisition, WWII, Israel/Palastine, 9/11, etc) is to try to learn from that. These three major religions have caused so much pain in the world....why? They all have common heritages.

    And yes....the ONLY people I have ever been approached by are Christians...whether it be Mormons, or Jehovahs Witnesses at my front door, or the Born Agains who would sit at my table uninvited at Barnes & Noble cafe and tell me about Christ, while I try to study for my boards. These were the worst....as they would not leave me alone, even when I asked them to leave...so in a sense, they were "forcing it on me....even if I chose to ignore them"

    I am a Catholic, yet I have many issues with the Catholic Church. But if one doesnt question ones faith, how strong is it? Do you truly believe everything that you are told....without question? That is sad if you do. That is a gift from God....free will.
    stomper
     
  47. LukeWhite

    LukeWhite USC Pulm/CCM 2014 Physician 10+ Year Member

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    This is getting silly.

    I'm sure I've never mentioned Hell at all in any thread in any forum, let alone anyone being condemned to it. And yet you automatically assume that I have very specific beliefs about the topic, and then condemn me for those beliefs. Come on--that's just bizarre.

    This is the point at which it becomes clear that people are less interested in discussion than in bashing the idea of religion in general. I've asked several questions of each of you with the intent to get clarification on your arguments about faith and medicine, and in each case I've been met not with answers to the questions, but with claims that I believe this or that and how awful it is that I believe those things.

    The problem is that I've never suggested these things, and in some cases have said just the opposite.

    Shall I list the things I've been accused of believing on this thread?

    -There's no difference between religion and spirituality.
    -Most underserved health care is religious in nature.
    -People who don't adhere to Christianity are damned to hell.
    -I have a "Holy Book" that other people must "believe in. "

    I'm sure some people believe some of these things. The problem is that I don't believe any of them, and haven't given any indication here or elsewhere that I do.

    It's all too easy to say that adherents to one belief or the other are wrong when you think you already know what they believe. I can't see, though, how it really serves to move the discussion along.
     
  48. stomper627

    stomper627 Go Cougs!!! 7+ Year Member

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    To the best of my knowledge I thought I did answer your question about Spirituality. Its Individuality. What someone considers spiritual will vary upon person and the beliefs that individual has. That is the "mind, body and spirit" principle. It is INDIVIDUAL. Just as though each MIND and BODY are. In a nutshel.... The mind....who we are. The body....the physical appearance. Spirit....what we believe.
    I never bashed religion. I did show organized religions major faults....how is that bashing? In fact, if religions would become more tolerant of others, and willing to learn about each....it may help to resolve a lot of conflict in the world.
    stomper
     

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