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PostPosted: 23 Dec 2007, 15:35 
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Grand Poobah
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I don't really know what to make of this...

Quote:
Study Suggests Need for Spiritual Bridge-Building between Pediatric Oncologists and Patients, Families


Quote:
"We have known for some time," she says, "that to provide the best care, an assessment of the spiritual and religious perspectives of patients and families might be necessary. In fact, one study of the parents of pediatric cancer patients found that it is centrally important for doctors to understand the belief system of caregivers when designing a care plan for those patients."



Quote:
"We found that although some respondents consider themselves spiritual, and that about a quarter of them believe in God with no reservation, the percentage of pediatric oncologists who hold these views is considerably lower than that of the general public," Ecklund says.


Quote:
Ecklund and co-authors' findings also suggest that there is a potential for teaching to occur in the kinds of elite academic medical settings examined in this research -- important when they note that the majority of pediatric oncologists report a lack of medical coursework in palliative care, an area to which religion and spirituality are central.


Last edited by jess on 23 Dec 2007, 18:33, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 24 Dec 2007, 00:55 
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To me, this study echoes the fundamentals of holistic medicine - that one needs to treat a whole person rather than just the symptoms. This includes the people and the beliefs that shape the patient's environment.

What troubles you about the article?


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PostPosted: 08 Jan 2008, 00:12 
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Grand Poobah
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I guess it's somewhat the implication that the doctors, who are less likely than their patients to believe, need to counsel their patients in beliefs.

Reviewing this, that's what I see as really bothering me.

I guess, on some level, I'd find it distressing and horrible if my child's oncologist started preaching at me. That's my business, y'know?

I'm also not sure why a belief system plays a role in the care of an oncology patient--- the drugs, treatments, should all be what is physically best for the child, not influenced by the beliefs of the family...


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PostPosted: 09 Jan 2008, 04:48 
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I don’t think that doctors can avoid preaching, if only through omission. The currently dominant message is that non-physical means of fighting diseases like cancer are not relevant or are of negligible importance. This can be interpreted as preaching by patients who hold a more expansive view, and will probably be flatly denied by people who have recovered from severe illness or injury through their own efforts (like Morris Goodman, for example).

The article does seem to be based on scientific research rather than religious activism. Are you questioning the validity of the results, or only their implications?


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PostPosted: 09 Jan 2008, 16:28 
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I think I'm concerend over the push to make doctors who do not believe council patients.

While I feel it's foolish to ignore how important spirtuality can be for health and people in general, I also feel this is akin to telling car mechanics they have to fix roads as well as cars, because they are interrealted.

There are people who specialize in spiritual needs, and they should be contacted by the family to provide appropriate care. The family should not expect a doctor to help them in that manner, and a doctor should not advise them in spiritual manners, unless that is agreed on in advance (I knwo there are Christian doctors and dentists who advertise as such... much like there are Christina painters and car salesmen.)


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PostPosted: 10 Jan 2008, 06:59 
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I think the car analogy would work well if we assumed that engine problems could inflict damage on the bodywork. People currently take their cars to have the bodywork repaired and are assured by the workers (here they are known as panel beaters) that this is all that is needed. The solution is only partially effective because the cause of the problem lies with the engine rather than the bodywork.

What is needed is for panel beaters to recognise the limitations of their discipline and urge the people to have the engine taken care of as well. It is not necessary for them to become qualified mechanics, as long as the role of mechanics in fixing bodywork is recognised and adequately catered for by car workshops as a whole.


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PostPosted: 11 Jan 2008, 22:01 
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Just to point out ...
Quote:
"We can see from our results that many pediatric oncologists do not come to the bedside with the same spiritual interests, capabilities or understandings as their patients and their families," she says.

"We found that although some respondents consider themselves spiritual, and that about a quarter of them believe in God with no reservation, the percentage of pediatric oncologists who hold these views is considerably lower than that of the general public," Ecklund says.

I think the study is saying that when the patient has spiritual beliefs, the pediatric oncologists should engage them on a spiritual level, not that it's endorsing that the pediatric oncologists evangelize ...

In some cultures, it's fundamentally important to do this in order to get the patients to 'stick with' the treatment. Take, for example, the Ibibio of Nigeria who have had one of the most extensive systems of belief in witchcraft. If one got sick, for example, it was due to a witch cursing one, and the solution to getting well was killing the witch. Now, Nigeria has been subject to much colonialism and technological development, so it's no surprise that doctors with modern 'western' medical knowledge have been practicing in the culture for years.

Modern 'western' medicine states that (simple) illnesses are caused by bacteria and viruses, right? Well, the Ibibio will buy that. They can accept the 'western' explanation, but that doesn't necessarily allay the witchcraft beliefs. They'll then start to try and figure out which witch got those bacteria or viruses into their body so they can go about killing the witch, meanwhile taking the anti-bacterial medication to take care of the physical little beasties as best they can. :?

If a doctor in that culture neglected to understand the importance of witchcraft beliefs to the majority of the populace, what are the odds people would take the medications? :?


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