Religious beliefs can be highly dangerous in medicine

There were incidents in the USA, when drug store employees refused to sell morning after pills to women

One has to acknowledge that American specialists may have a rather religious approach to such serious medical issues as HIV infection, human cloning, sexual upbringing, contraception and abortions. A group of America researchers decided to conduct an opinion poll among US doctors in order to find out their attitude to the faith and religion in modern medicine. It goes without saying that religion is a very private subject, which touches upon the feelings of every particular individual. However, the poll revealed that 76 percent of American medical specialists confessed that they trusted in God.

A similar research that was conducted in 1998 showed that religion had a smaller influence on the professional activity of medical employees: 58 percent of doctors acknowledged that they took account of religious beliefs in their work.

Medicine has been closely connected with religion for ages. A recovery was considered a miracle for hundreds of years. It was the institute of church, which was in charge of all miracles. The relations between official medicine and official religion have been undergoing various changes throughout the centuries. Doctors were gradually taking the material side of the matter as science and the knowledge of human anatomy were developing. It was not a sudden or universal process, but the trend was obvious.

It was noticed that the number of religious individuals was lower in the society of educated and financially secure people. The phenomenon is easy to understand: science has never been able to prove the existence of God, although it has never been able to prove the opposite either. Nevertheless, the material knowledge, to which medicine is referred, leaves a certain mark on its followers.

The profession of a doctor is unique for its double-faced essence. Medics can be easily attracted to spiritual world as they communicate with their patients and see their sufferings. It would be impossible for a human being to deal with somebody else's pain without compassion and sympathy. Almost every doctor experiences a certain “romantic” period in the beginning of their careers. A young doctor develops the feeling that he or she becomes a part of a great profession, which has its own language (Latin), its lifestyle, traditions, and symbolism. All these features create quite a romantic environment.

It is noteworthy that a part of doctors take an opposite turn in their professional outlook as they gain experience in medicine: they may develop nihilism and even cynicism. Some specialists prefer to put an end to their further professional development at this point. The specific black medical humor, which gives shivers to many people of non-medical professions, is based exactly on this factor. As a rule, a lot of doctors have a very simple attitude to death: “God gives - God takes.”

The more experience doctors gain, the more they think about the spiritual part of their profession. One may find icons and bibles in the offices of medical professors. Churches and chapels may often be built on the territory of medical institutions too.

There is obviously nothing wrong about a doctor, deriving strength and inspiration from religion. However, if medical specialist's beliefs affect his or her patient directly, it is a horse of a different color. Religious pharmacists may often refuse to sell morning after pills to women, for example: they feel that they cannot sell child-killing pills to women. There were incidents in the USA, when drug store employees refused to return such prescriptions to customers, not to let women buy contraception pills in another drug store. The American Medical Association had to interfere in the scandal to protect female customers' rights: it turned out that patients suffered because of religion.

One has to acknowledge, though, that the majority of doctors prefer to help their patients without religious prejudices. In addition, doctors prefer to describe themselves as spiritual, not religious individuals. Unlike religious fanaticism, which caused too much trouble in the history of the human civilization, spirituality can not be considered a serious flaw. A doctor may use religion, music, sports, literature, etc as a source of inspiration to treat their patients, if it does not bring them any harm.

Subscribe to Pravda.Ru Telegram channel, Facebook, RSS!

Author`s name Olga Savka