Healthcare News & Insights

How doctors’ religious beliefs impact patient care

A doctor’s faith — or lack of it — can dramatically affect the type of care terminally ill patients get.

That’s the conclusion of a new study published in the Journal of Medical Ethics. Among the findings: Doctors who identify as atheist or agnostic are more than twice as likely as religious physicians to choose a course of care that’s more likely to end a terminally ill patient’s life more quickly, such as withdrawing life-sustaining treatments.

Non-religious doctors were also more likely to use sedation for patients nearing death — they were also more likely to discuss the full range of treatment options with patients. The study found that even when patients were mentally capable of having such a discussion, doctors who identified as religious were much less likely to discuss end-of-life care options.

The study encouraged doctors of every faith (or no faith) to reconsider how their own beliefs may be unwittingly influencing patients’ care and decision-making.

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Comments

  1. “The study encouraged doctors of every faith (or no faith) to reconsider how their own beliefs may be unwittingly influencing patients’ care and decision-making.”

    One’s religious beliefs, philosophies or even world view will always influence the decisions they make. It would be absurd to assume otherwise, especially in cases like these where end of life decisions are made, a time when one’s religious beliefs, both on the part of the physician and patient, are more apt to come into play.

Trackbacks

  1. […] The topic hits several hot button issues, including the morality of abortion and patients’ right to treatment plans which health providers don’t agree with. […]

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