Religious Faith of Medical Practitioners Influences End of Life Care

The British Journal of Medical Ethics has published a study by Dr. Clive Seale, a professor in the Centre for Health Sciences at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, which includes data from a survey of medical practioners in the UK who are most likely to have specialties where end of life decisions are likely to occur.

More than 3,700 doctors responded, including those who had described interactions with a patient who recently died.

While all of the findings are fascinating, two in particular stand out for me:

Doctors from Hindu and Muslim faith backgrounds who describe themselves as religious are more likely to have specialties working with the care of the elderly (which reflects consistency in light of the honor their faiths bestow on the elderly).

Doctors who describe themselves as atheist or agnostic are nearly twice as likely to speed up end of life care for very sick patients than are the doctors who describe themselves as deeply religious.

The article (with more findings) is excerpted in Medical News Today at:

In case you are wondering what this might have to do with the Stamps Theological Library – some of our favorite and most frequent patrons are students from our School of Nursing and many of the resources on ethics and bioethics held by our libraries are located in Stamps.

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