Michael Balboni: Should Physicians Pray With Patients?

by Batya Swift Yasgur, MA, LMSW

Although medicine and religion are typically separate domains, patients sometimes want to bring them together.

For many patients, turning to prayer during their recovery or in a situation of a bad prognosis is natural and comforting. However, this may create a conundrum for the treating physician. He or she may disagree with the patient's beliefs or feel that praying is diverting the patient from making necessary lifestyle changes. Or perhaps the physician does not want to have that kind of spiritual/personal interaction with a patient.

Conversely, some physicians are happy enough to participate in prayer and feel, "If it helps the patient's recovery, why not?"



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