A UK Doctor Is In Trouble For Praying With His Patients. Is There More to the Story? Also, Proof That the Internet Is Forever.


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“I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me.”― C.S. Lewis


Let me say this up front. I prayed with some patients when I was a nurse. I also prayed for many more. I bet you might wonder if Dee is going to do a screed about discrimination against the spiritual expression of health professionals. Take a deep breath and settle on in.

Most major, non-religiously aligned, medical groups recognize the need to do a spiritual, well as a medical and psychological, assessment on patients.

Here is a good writeup in the AMA (American Medical Association) Journal of Ethics: Doing a Culturally Sensitive Spiritual Assessment: Recognizing Spiritual Themes and Using the HOPE Questions

During the last 10 years there has been a considerable increase in the number of studies showing positive associations between spirituality and health [1,2]. Incorporating spirituality into medical practice, however, continues to pose many challenges [3]. These include the multicultural milieu in which medicine is practiced and the deeply personal meaning these issues carry for both patients and health care providers. A culturally sensitive spiritual assessment is a first step towards addressing the spiritual needs of patients [4]. It also provides a tool through which health professionals can understand their own beliefs, biases, values, and needs as related to health care.

Here is another article written by David Hodge: A Template for Spiritual Assessment: A Review of the JCAHO Requirements and Guidelines for Implementation

It is particularly interesting because JCAHO is the accrediting body for health care institutions in the US. Ask any friend who helps run a hospital how much they fear the regular JCAHO evaluation visits.

Growing consensus exists regarding the importance of spiritual assessment. For instance, the largest health care accrediting body in the United States, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), now requires the administration of a spiritual assessment. Although most practitioners endorse the concept of spiritual assessment, studies suggest that social workers have received little training in spiritual assessment. To address this gap, the current article reviews the JCAHO requirements for conducting a spiritual assessment and provides practitioners with guidelines for its proper implementation.

In addition to helping equip practitioners in JCAHO-accredited settings who may be required to perform such an assessment, the spiritual assessment template profiled in this article may also be of use to practitioners in other settings

At the same time, it is important to note that people hold to many differing religious beliefs or no beliefs whatsoever. Here is a helpful chart from Wikipedia for beliefs in the US.

Here is the breakdown in the UK in Wikipedia.

Even within each religious group, there are differences in how people practicer their faith.

I present these stats to help Christians understand that they cannot assume that the person in the hospital bed  believes as they do.

Healthcare professionals need to determine how a patient’s spiritual needs interact with their medical needs. During my daughter’s two lengthy surgeries, I was most grateful for the presence of the hospital chaplain as well as from my pastors and other church members.

It is also important to understand that the religious beliefs may vary with those surrounding the patient. Not only do you have a patients needs, but the needs of the family which sometimes conflict. Here is a good write up of the Karen Ann Quinlan case by the NYT. KAREN ANN QUINLAN, 31, DIES; FOCUS OF ’76 RIGHT TO DIE CASE

Most hospitals have hospital chaplains as well as the ability to reach out to pastors, priests, etc. to assist patients and their families. This sort of help assists healthcare professionals who must deal with their own set of religious practices. Social workers are often quite helpful in identifying religious needs.

In other words, folks, religious beliefs in the healthcare setting can be quite complicated. It it gets even more complicated when Christians and other religious groups are not sensitive to a patient’s practices of lack thereof.

As professionals, we are required to well care for all of our patient. This means we do not hold them hostage to our particular beliefs. Here is an example of such a situation≥

A UK Doctor is in trouble for praying with patients: Why we need to carefully read a news report.

The Christian Post reported UK agency reopens investigation into Christian doctor who prays with patients. When I first saw this I thought it was going to be one of those screeds from an anti-religion group or a *liberal* government agency. (Tongue in cheek.) I was wrong. Totally. In fact, if this report is correct, then I believe this praying physician foisted himself upon his unsuspecting patients.

As previously reported, Dr. Richard Scott of the Bethesda Medical Centre in Margate, Kent, faced the possibility of losing his medical license after a complaint was filed against him last year.

Scott, a general practitioner, was subject to a fitness-to-practice inquiry from the General Medical Council after a complaint was filed by the National Secular Society, (NSS) a British advocacy group promoting the strict interpretation of separation of church and state.

The organization claimed that Scott made a vulnerable patient feel uncomfortable by praying. The allegation was made to NSS by a friend of the patient, not the patient.

In this instance, note that the complaint was made by the friend of the patient, not the patient. The case was dismissed (rightfully so, IMO.) This outcome was reassuring to physicians who often interact with their patients on spiritual matters.

All’s well that ends well…right?

Some new information came to light and the General Medical Council (GMC) is reviewing their decision.

NSS’ challenge alleged that Scott’s patients have complained about religion being pushed on them.

Additionally, NSS pointed to an interview Scott did with The Daily Mail last month in which he said that he has discussed his faith with about 40 patients in the past with only about 10 of them issuing a complaint. One of those complaints, from 2012, went to the GMC. 

Also, in an interview with BBC Radio Kent in December, Scott declared that as a Christian doctor, one must consider “who is your ultimate boss.”

“And it’s not the general medical council, it’s Jesus Christ,” Scott said. “And I’m prepared to take risks on behalf of Jesus because I’ve seen how much patients can benefit.”

Did you catch that? Out of 40 patients, 10 allegedly complained. That means that 25% of those he prayed with were not happy.

When a patient is in the hospital, perhaps facing a serious procedure, there is an unequal relationship between the doctor, the one who is perfuming the procedure, and the patient. What patient wants to miff off their doctor by refusing to pray with him before he started operating on their brain?

Now, let’s turn the table.

Supposed you are a devout Christian and your equally devout Wiccan doctor asks if she could pray for the upcoming surgery. Now, Dee would find that request absolutely fascinating and would tell her to go ahead just to see what that looked like with a view to writing a post about it. However, many patients would find such an interaction uncomfortable, not just because of the the faith expressed but because they were experiencing great anxiety regarding their medical care orjust not feeling well.

In regards to this physician, having 25% of his patients viewed his praying as a negative encounter. That physician is not blocked from praying privately for each and every patient. Or does praying out loud against the patient’s desires make him feel more effective?

I look forward to your thoughts on this matter.


Proof that nothing ever dies on social media.

I thought you might enjoy seeing this *Like* on one of my Tweets. This like occurred today 01/13/2020.

So, for the curious, here is a better link. I had to look it up because I forgot why I tweeted this. I’m still trying to figure out why I found it worthy of a Tweet.

Never, ever forget…the internet is forever.


Comments

A UK Doctor Is In Trouble For Praying With His Patients. Is There More to the Story? Also, Proof That the Internet Is Forever. — 128 Comments

  1. “Even within each religious group, there are differences in how people practice their faith.”

    Hold hands?
    Laying on of hands?
    Hugs?
    Pray for healing or not? for a miracle?
    What if the sick person is not healed? Is there judgement? “Lack of faith?”
    Etc.

    To what extent is the agency of the prayee respected? Key.

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  2. Good post Dee. I appreciate your analysis. It’s hard to explain how uncomfortable socially it can be when people push their religion in situations where it’s hard to opt out or push back socially. You can never tell how people are going to treat you afterwards.

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  3. Off topic, but I’ve just got to share this:

    A woman teaching a class of men at Washington DC’s Capitol Hill Baptist Church!

    bottom left, class and teacher, photographed on the church steps (1925)
    https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1925-06-14/ed-1/seq-98

    top right, photograph of “Miss Frances Guschewsky, teacher of the class, has served for many years” “at the church, 6th and A streets northeast” (1923):
    https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1923-11-03/ed-1/seq-11

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  4. As a believing physician I face this situation not infrequently. I am very aware there is a power differential and a need to be careful, respectful and lead by the Spirit. I always ask a patient’s permission before praying, and have yet to be turned down. That is a good point, however, that they may not feel they can decline. I do not take a patient’s hand, but they sometimes take mine. The times I am most moved to pray are when I cannot change their situation or ease their distress, but I know the One who can. To me, not offering prayer for the pain in their soul is as bad as not offering analgesia for the pain in their body. That your doctor takes the risk (and it is a risk) to intercede for you to the God of the universe, is such a powerful statement that God sees and God cares and God has conpassion for you.

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  5. What would you do if you were the patient (perhaps taken ill while in India so a place where Christians are a minority) and your doctor asked whether he could offer some Hindu prayers on your behalf?

    Note there is a big difference between privately praying without the patient’s knowledge, praying with the patient at the patient’s explicit request, and initiating the request for prayer.

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  6. Two Notes:

    (1) A “general practictioner” in the UK is kind of like a “family doctor” in the US. You don’t see your GP when you’re “in the hospital, perhaps facing a serious procedure”, but instead they’re like the first person you go to with any problem, and are as likely to be talking people through a general sense of malaise and meaninglessness as they are a potential cancer diagnosis (there is a distinct hint of ‘parish priest’ about their role). Nor would chaplains be available in a GP’s ‘surgery’ (which is just an archaic word for their ‘office’; no actual surgery occurs there) as they are not in hospitals, just ordinary office-type buildings.

    (2) The reference to “separation of church and state” isn’t relevant to a country which is legally Christian and in which there is actually a state church, and other religions even run state-funded public schools (there are Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu ones) open to kids of all religions. It’s a US concept imported into a setting where it doesn’t belong.

    But, yes, if you have a 25% complaint rate you are probably not exercising much wisdom about how you operate in a pluralistic setting and it’s not helpful to ascribe it all to persecution.

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  7. Loren Haas: why do you hate God?

    Questioning one person’s interaction with another person has nothing to do with God but everything to do with social interaction, motive, etc.

    One of the troubling factors in churches can be lack of skepticism or critical thinking because of the God factor. Ask anyone, mostly women, who have been encroached upon by clergy. The God factor can cloud human thinking.

    Be aware. Beware. Particularly when there is spirituality involved. Don’t take anything for granted. Walk away can be a good practice.

    The problem with visiting clergy in a hospital is that the patient cannot physically even walk away. Thus, some complained.

    Thanks, Dee, for opening this discussion, with research and consideration of the many factors involved.

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  8. Good article, Dee. As an atheist and skeptic, I’d definitely feel awkward if a physician asked if they could pray with me (and I would definitely turn it down). I’m totally fine with them asking if I have community and/or spiritual support, if I’d like a chaplain to come by, etc – but IMHO a doctor’s job is to doctor me. Heck, if they’ve got a minute to pray, I’d just as soon they spent it doing another minute of literature review on whatever is wrong with me, since that’s vastly more likely to actually make a difference than prayer would.

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  9. Skeptic here. My experience with unwanted religious intrusion by medical personnel was after prostate cancer surgery. Following through with findings found on the various scans I had before the surgery, a primary cancer was found in my liver–unrelated to the prostate cancer. Liver resection and treatment for that. Then I went to my Urologist for my one year check up. He read my info and actually jumped up and loudly said “God gave you prostate cancer to find the liver cancer”

    I was struck dumb and unable to think of a response. He is no longer my Urologist

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  10. “I’m prepared to take risks on behalf of Jesus because I’ve seen how much patients can benefit.” (Dr. Scott)

    Christian bloggers take risks for Jesus all the time!

    Sidenote: My son–in-law is a hospice chaplain. He is sensitive to this issue when he visits a new patient, carefully measuring what level of spiritual support he will provide. He has had patients refuse bedside prayer, to which he sadly complies.

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  11. Sarah M.: That your doctor takes the risk (and it is a risk) to intercede for you to the God of the universe, is such a powerful statement that God sees and God cares and God has compassion for you.

    Amen and Amen!!

    We are blessed to have a family doctor who prays for us every time we see him. We never thought that others would be offended by his offer to pray, since we know the power available to us as believers if we would only pray. I’m sure there are those who refuse his prayers for a variety of reasons.

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  12. HA, I saw ‘JCAHO’ and thought that article must be old since they got all huffy about being called joint commission instead a few years ago…

    Chaplains are great for this sort of thing. My church has pastors who can also visit parishioners. I dont think there is a need for a doctor to impose on a patient with religion and I’m not surprised the patients were irritated. Also, UK is different on this stuff.

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  13. I have worn many hats in my day as a hospital and hospice chaplain, pastor, bereavement coordinator, and mental health therapist. In all of these roles I have had opportunity to pray with folks. Many asked for prayer. Others I offered to pray with and for them. To some to whom I offered to pray, they politely declined my offer which is their right.

    To pray with another is an offering of oneself to be alongside them in the presence of God. If someone says no to that offering, we honor their request and go forth . . .

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  14. Erp: What would you do if you were the patient (perhaps taken ill while in India so a place where Christians are a minority) and your doctor asked whether he could offer some Hindu prayers on your behalf?

    I would actually appreciate that but I think you make a good point. Honestly, I would probably rather have a hindu or buddhist blessing than some flavors of christianity. It just…depends on how it was offered and if it was respectful or over the top.

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  15. Iowa Steve: Then I went to my Urologist for my one year check up. He read my info and actually jumped up and loudly said “God gave you prostate cancer to find the liver cancer”

    Did he try to unload John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Cancer” tract on you?

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  16. Headless Unicorn Guy: Iowa Steve: Then I went to my Urologist for my one year check up. He read my info and actually jumped up and loudly said “God gave you prostate cancer to find the liver cancer”

    Did he try to unload John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Cancer” tract on you?

    My thought exactly … spoken from the lips of a Piperite.

    A recent Piper tweet: “Does this mean some snow or all snow is in God’s command? If only some, what is his will for the rest?”

    Thus, don’t waste your snow this winter, folks!

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  17. Max: Exactly what Scripture did he quote when he uttered that revelation?

    I’ve struggled with that concept when I’ve heard Wade express similar situations and outcomes. The latest WAbe episode contains this statement from him: “On the other side of pain, He’s (God) doing something greater than He could have done without it….”

    I’ve not participated in that discussion, but may do so later this afternoon. For me, that represents a cruel God rather than a caring one. Perhaps I’m missing something in that type of thinking and I’d be happy to have the missing piece supplied.

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  18. Albuquerque Blue,

    I think the standard which is used in determining sex abuse in a university or business setting is key. What is the power differential in the situation. Once we recognize that it exists, it behooves us to make sure we understand the needs of the patient. I have been honored in my life to have patient trust me with their struggles. I do not wish to add to those struggles with a naive approach in my faith practice.

    The physician in question misunderstands his role. It is to bring comfort and healing, not unnecessary conflict. This physician can still pray for a patient who does not hold to a faith. Just not with the patient.

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  19. Victorious: “On the other side of pain, He’s (God) doing something greater than He could have done without it….” … For me, that represents a cruel God rather than a caring one.

    Some folks version of the Calvinist God scares the hell out of me!

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  20. Lea: Chaplains are great for this sort of thing. My church has pastors who can also visit parishioners. I dont think there is a need for a doctor to impose on a patient with religion and I’m not surprised the patients were irritated. Also, UK is different on this stuff.

    Yeah, I think it would be safer if a doctor asked a patient if they would like a chaplain to come pray/speak with them. I would think it’d be less intimidating to say no to a chaplain than to say no to someone wanting to pray with you right then. Particularly if you don’t know the spiritual background of the person wanting to pray for you.

    Frankly, I would be less bothered by a Muslim wanting to pray for me than a fundamentalist Baptist. I would find fundamentalist beliefs in a prayer very triggering.

    Being very sick and in the hospital often makes you feel powerless as it is. Wanting spiritual support and what kind is a choice you could be allowed in the hospital. Taking that choice from someone at the very least can make you uncomfortable, but at worst, for someone like me with spiritual trauma, could be very triggering. There are a lot of people that would be offended, too, if you don’t share the same religion or the same type of faith.

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  21. LC: he reference to “separation of church and state” isn’t relevant to a country which is legally Christian and in which there is actually a state church, and other religions even run state-funded public schools (there are Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu ones) open to kids of all religions. It’s a US concept imported into a setting where it doesn’t belong.

    I was quoting from the article which brought this up. I am currently working with a pastor in the UK to write a series of articles on victims of abuse in the church. It is my understanding that the COE has adopted some secular values. So, here is my question. Is there an attempt on the part of the COE to force their religious beliefs (which are in a state of flux) on the population? Would most people in the UK act as if there is a separation of church and state in a number of matters scubas hiring practices of businesses?

    Also in the US the Constitution does not mandate a separation of church and state. It merely means that government shall not impose/favor one religion over any other.

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  22. LC: A “general practictioner” in the UK is kind of like a “family doctor” in the US. You don’t see your GP when you’re “in the hospital, perhaps facing a serious procedure”

    Go back about 60 years in the US and you would find that family practitioners were called general practitioners.I know this because that is what my father was celled. Let me add to comments to bring in this sort of practice. My father did not practice his religious faith (Russian Orthodox) although he attended most of the festivals. However, he was known to call the patient’s priest, rabbi, etc when the person asked for some spiritual guidance. He would even get visits from the clerics to discuss how to handle an ailing parish member.

    Pediatricians are not unlike family practitioners. When my daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor, my daughter’s pediatrician called us in for a conference to understand why we turned down radiation after surgery. I still remember drawing a picture of my daughter’s brain on one of the practice’s examination tables. They are covered with white paper to be changed after each patient. She asked me if my faith caused me to believe she would be healed. I told her that the decision had nothing to do with my faith although we did prey about it. Our decision was based on our medical knowledge.

    Once she understood that she became our great supporter. She would often call to see how my daughter was faring and made a point of visiting her at the hospital after her second surgery. As our pediatrician, she was a part of our lives and cared for all three of my children. And our decision proved to be the correct one.

    I believe that a general practitioner has an incredible opportunity to be present in serious situations. In the UK, I bet said physician would have access to clergy if requested by a patient.

    I am currently working on some stories of abuse in the COE and am communicating with a cleric in the UK.I would love to get your input once they are posted.

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  23. Iowa Steve,

    I hope you are continuing to do well. It took 10 years before they could say my daughter was probably a cure from her brain cancer.Even now, I still get worried if she ins’t feeling well. She is a pediatric critical care nurse and is good at it. She spent her childhood years at clinics, etc. so he is quite comfortable in that setting.

    I’m sure your urologist meant well but he could take a few lessons in the type of communication that includes the patient as opposed to pushing them away.

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  24. LC: Nor would chaplains be available in a GP’s ‘surgery’

    So that would be like in office type surgery? I’m not sure of the british terms on this I guess…My derm bills for surgery when he removes something like a skin tag, but its not intense enough to need prayer. I would have thought this context would be more a hospital setting. Interesting.

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  25. Lea: So that would be like in office type surgery? I’m not sure of the british terms on this I guess…My derm bills for surgery when he removes something like a skin tag, but its not intense enough to need prayer. I would have thought this context would be more a hospital setting. Interesting.

    I’m not British, but I think doctor’s “surgery” means “doctor’s office”.

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  26. Victorious,

    One cannot know what that might look like in the midst of the situation. I think I would have punched someone who told me that my daughter’s brain tumor was His will when she was so sick, heard wrapped n bandages and eyes swollen shut. Try visiting a pediatric oncology floor some time and see children and babies suffering. Been there, done that.

    As she did better, I found I had learned much during that time.At the minimum it has caused me to be even more empathetic. I did care deeply for people when I was a nurse. However, as a mother of a seriously sick child, I learned to actually feel the pain in my gut.

    On the other hand, I know some Christian parents whose children have died from cancer. I have not met many who jump up and down, claiming victory. They may mouth it, but the sadness lingers. For many, tears will not be wiped away until heaven.

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  27. ishy: Being very sick and in the hospital often makes you feel powerless as it is. Wanting spiritual support and what kind is a choice you could be allowed in the hospital. Taking that choice from someone at the very least can make you uncomfortable, but at worst, for someone like me with spiritual trauma, could be very triggering.

    Loved you comment.

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  28. Tina: I’m not British, but I think doctor’s “surgery” means “doctor’s office”.

    My dad was a family doc. He was non practicing Russian Orthodox. He knew every religious leader in town and ofter would discuss religious needs of patients with their permission. Such a doctor is a true member of the community and understands the support systems quite well.

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  29. Several weeks ago, a clerk at the checkout at Publix asked me to pray for his grandmother. He was heading to Ecuador as she was very ill. When he returned some weeks later, I said, “I prayed for your mother as you asked me to.” He politely replied that it was his grandmother who needed prayer. I smiled and said, “Oh, I’m certain God knew how to direct my prayers to the right person.” We both agreed and he thanked me for the prayers and my faith that God knew what I didn’t.

    If you haven’t read J.B.Phillips’s book, “Your God is too Small” you may agree with his statement that Christians need to “redefine their understanding of a creator without labels or earthly constraints and instead search for a meaningful concept of God. Phillips explains that the trouble facing many of us today is that we have not found a God big enough for our modern needs.”

    https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Your-God-Is-Too-Small/J-B-Phillips/9780743255097

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  30. Tina: I’m not British, but I think doctor’s “surgery” means “doctor’s office”.

    Huh. This is apparently a britishism I have never come across, but how do they differentiate from actual surgery then? Does it have a different name? #confused

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  31. Is this guy into that ‘nouthetic’ stuff? :

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9332253/Christian-GP-who-spoke-to-patients-about-the-Devil-given-warning.html

    “2012…suicidal 24-year-old man, known only as patient A…[Dr. Richard Scott] told the patient he was not going to offer him any medical help, tests or advice and stated if he did not ‘turn towards Jesus then he would suffer for the rest of his life’…[he] used the phrase, or something similar to ‘the Devil haunts people who do not turn to Jesus'”

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  32. Maybe our UK friends could correct me, but I have heard from some of my patients who moved to and lived in England for a while that they got “assigned” their GP by the Health system depending on where they lived. So it might be worse if they feel they are “stuck” with that Dr. who is not respecting them spiritually, whereas here in U.S. most people in a similar circumstance would just leave the practice and find another Dr.

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  33. Just for clarification, the difference between a general practitioner and a family practitioner has to do with additional education and board certification. A general practitioner in our country typically has only a single year of additional training beyond medical school, has a medical license but is not certified by a specialty board. A specialist in family medicine has 3 additional years of training beyond medical school, has a license, and is also certified by the American Board of Family Medicine. This requires continuing medical education and additional board certification exams, among other requirements. Family medicine is actually a specialty. I consider myself an expert in the overall picture. The designation of primary care physician can include many types, including general practitioners, family physicians, pediatricians and internists. On the subject of praying with patients, we are in a unique situation to have an ongoing relationship with patients through the years where trust has been earned and care has been demonstrated and it sometimes allows us to reveal the God who is the giver of every good thing.

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  34. Jerome: “2012…suicidal 24-year-old man, known only as patient A…[Dr. Richard Scott] told the patient he was not going to offer him any medical help, tests or advice and stated if he did not ‘turn towards Jesus then he would suffer for the rest of his life’…

    That is wildly unethical and dangerous!

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  35. ishy: spiritual trauma

    The New Calvinist movement – with its arrogant and militant young leaders who are taking over churches by stealth and deception – has precipitated a new spiritual ailment among genuine believers: PTCS … Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome. I have a touch of it myself.

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  36. My wife, a 30+ year critical care nurse will pray with her patients and family. But only after establishing a relationship and with their permission.
    She also prays to herself outside the room and as she works through what is traumatic for the patient and herself. The only way she can do her job.
    As the patient advocate, she will also shoo away the chaplain if the patient does not want one. Or get on the phone and find a Buddhist practitioner if they want that.
    It is about the patient

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  37. Lea: Huh. This is apparently a britishism I have never come across, but how do they differentiate from actual surgery then? Does it have a different name? #confused

    Slight tangent here, but you can tell from context. “The surgery was successful”, for instance, refers to an operation (as does “surgery” with no article). Whereas, “Calling in at the surgery” refers to the office/building.

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  38. Sarah M.: I always ask a patient’s permission before praying, and have yet to be turned down. That is a good point, however, that they may not feel they can decline.

    Please stop offering to pray with your patients during their medical visits.

    I’ve had several life-threatening conditions. Two of my current docs are Christians overflowing with faith.

    Yet they do not offer to pray with me.

    I have known them a very long time, so they know I too am a Christian. They have asked about my spiritual life. They have even said they will pray for me.

    But with me, right there in the exam room? Never.

    Among other things, you might be convincing some patients that they are doomed, or that you disapprove of their being ill, or that they have to play along in order to get the best medical care from you. If they are scared or wary or don’t want to insult you, they will not tell you their true reactions to your offer.

    If a patient asks you to pray, that’s a slightly different matter. Even then, I would suggest that you ask what spiritual resources are available to that patient, and what the patient wants and needs.

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  39. Tina: I’m not British, but I think doctor’s “surgery” means “doctor’s office”.

    That’s right. It’s not anything like a hospital. A lawyer could feasibly be using the same location. Interesting most UK Members of Parliament hold a weekly ‘surgery’, which is basically an open house (usually in their offices) to which members of the public can come with their problems. Also no actual hospital procedures performed.

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  40. readingalong: Maybe our UK friends could correct me, but I have heard from some of my patients who moved to and lived in England for a while that they got “assigned” their GP by the Health system depending on where they lived.

    That doesn’t sound very likely. Healthcare under the NHS, which covers the whole country, is intended to be free at the point of delivery for every citizen *, which means that there are practice centres covering every area. Each one will have several doctors based there. [Generic] you can choose which surgery you want to register at – it’ll usually be the nearest one geographically, and in a large urban area there will in practice be a choice of several. (In sparsely populated rural areas that may be less true.) Also, there will be a number of doctors based at each centre, and you can make an appointment with any one of them at any given time.

    * There’s still a full range of private hospitals and medical this, that and the other, which you have to pay for yourself or to which you can subscribe on an insurance-paid basis rather like in the US.

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  41. LC: Interesting most UK Members of Parliament hold a weekly ‘surgery’, which is basically an open house (usually in their offices) to which members of the public can come with their problems.

    This sounds so strange to me!!! How fascinating.

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  42. readingalong:
    Maybe our UK friends could correct me, but I have heard from some of my patients who moved to and lived in England for a while that they got “assigned” their GP by the Health system depending on where they lived.So it might be worse if they feel they are “stuck” with that Dr. who is not respecting them spiritually, whereas here in U.S. most people in a similar circumstance would just leave the practice and find another Dr.

    You can usually chose any which cover your address, so there’s normally a choice, plus a number of doctors operate out of the same practice, meaning guy can normally ask for one specifically when making an appointment.

    I have plenty of Christian doctor friends and I would imagine most would be incredibly cautious about praying with a non-Christian while on the job.

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  43. Loren Haas: As the patient advocate, she will also shoo away the chaplain if the patient does not want one.

    Please thank your wife on behalf of patients everywhere.

    I always ask to see the chaplain. Always. And likewise I always appreciate the nurse making sure this is a welcome visit.

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  44. Jerome: A woman teaching a class of men at Washington DC’s Capitol Hill Baptist Church!

    Goodness gracious! No wonder Dever & Co. had to swoop in there and “reform” that church! They were a bunch of heretics for thinking that men and women were equals! Good thing he came “for such a time as this” and straightened them all out. (sarcasm font) 🙂

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  45. Their website, congregation’s history page says the church has been “always doctrinally conservative”:

    https://www.capitolhillbaptist.org/about-us/our-history/

    Doesn’t that suggest that their current gender dogmas aren’t doctrinal at all, but 9Marksist/complementarianist ideology?

    I’ve been waiting for some of this to come out on the ‘CHBC History’ Twitter account. For several years he’s posted lots of old newspaper clippings, but nothing like this!

    https://twitter.com/MikeF29

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  46. Jerome,

    Jerome, part of the problem with this new bunch is that in an effort to push back against feminism, they want to push us back into the dark ages. And honestly, women had more personal freedom 200 years ago then some of these people want us to have now. They have no sense of history.

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  47. Friend,

    Friend, I can’t stop offering to pray with deeply hurting people in the clinic, because that is what God has called me for, and equipped me to do. But I can promise you that I won’t offer to pray with you or anyone like minded. The point is to lift a load, bring hope, comfort, and healing. How is that going to happen if by offering to pray I cause a patient to be defensive, suspicious, angry, uncomfortable? It won’t. It completely defeats the purpose. Prayers for them are in my head. God hasn’t called me to confront patients with their sin and their need for salvation. He’s called me to show them He hears and He cares.

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  48. This discussion seems to be a part of the “God is Good” statement people make when someone survives a medical issue or a car crash. I keep asking (mostly to myself) is he “bad” when the outcomes are not good?

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  49. Lea: This sounds so strange to me!

    Many people who haven’t traveled a lot have trouble understanding how English isn’t all that universal between the US and UK.

    Take boot, spanner, that prefix for a style of carpet big in the 70s, or even the US president’s last name. All have meanings that change radically as we move across the big pond.

    I spend my 20s moving around in the east part of this country (US) for my job and flying to cities all over the country. You could get tripped up quickly once the conversations turned social.

    Anyone rhet up their house lately?

    And I suspect a few of us know what a southern compliment is. And how it really isn’t.

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  50. Jerome: “2012…suicidal 24-year-old man, known only as patient A…[Dr. Richard Scott] told the patient he was not going to offer him any medical help, tests or advice and stated if he did not ‘turn towards Jesus then he would suffer for the rest of his life’…[he] used the phrase, or something similar to ‘the Devil haunts people who do not turn to Jesus’”

    That makes it a very different story, indeed.

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  51. Victorious: I’ve not participated in that discussion, but may do so later this afternoon. For me, that represents a cruel God rather than a caring one.

    Maybe it’s a cruel God for cruel Christians?
    (As in justification – “It’s OK to be cruel because God is”?)

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  52. Friend: Among other things, you might be convincing some patients that they are doomed…

    During my RCIA catechism classes many-many years ago, the priest described that type of “misunderstandings” regarding hospital visitations and the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. (Between the Council of Trent and Vatican II, Anointing of the Sick was commonly called “Last Rites”, as at the time it was usually given when the patient had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. Nowadays it’s used for any serious illness, not just terminal comas.)

    Anyway, the patient would see a priest enter and immediately try to climb out the window to get away.

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  53. Sarah M.: I can promise you that I won’t offer to pray with you or anyone like minded.

    Please forgive my harsh words earlier. But please also consider that you don’t always know who the like minded people are.

    Praying inside your head is a great gift to patients.

    Does your clinic offer prayer with the doctor as a known service? If not, is there some other way you could live out your calling to pray with patients, like holding a brief prayer session every day at noon to which all are invited?

    If a doctor offered to pray with me, I would probably cooperate instead of struggling to assert myself. The doctor would never know, especially if I was medically vulnerable. Prayer will not harm the patient, but it might cause an inner struggle you do not discern. Just something to consider.

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  54. I am a strong Christian who happens to believe that God heals people according to his will, and ultimate healing comes in heaven when we pass into his presence. I have always had walking issues due to a birth defect, and I just have gotten around with my cane, crutches, rollator (a very cool walker with a seat and four wheels that lets me get all around the school where I teach). I have had people I don’t know approach me at church, in parking lots, at retreats, and large Christian conferences who have attempted to lay hands on me, without my permission, to get me healed. These people don’t even know me, and they have no right to do that. I have had incredible prayer support my whole life from people who know me, love me, and care about me. They know that some of my greatest problems aren’t even the physical ones that have come my way.

    So, when I think of a person who does not know God yet as a Christian knows him, I believe I need to be careful. I can always pray for that person while I am tending to him in any of a myriad of ways, and continue praying when those tasks are done. I don’t want an unbeliever to think that prayer is magical or that I am trying to force my faith on them. So often, when I have prayed for a person with whom I have contact-a neighbor, a student, a parent of a student, a non-believing family member-they ask me if I pray for them. I truthfully respond “often”, and I will hear how God has answered prayer, and opened this person’s mind and heart to faith in Christ.

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  55. Headless Unicorn Guy: the patient would see a priest enter and immediately try to climb out the window to get away.

    Chuckling here. Hospital chaplains know they are a scary sight to some. They make a charming effort to reassure me that it’s just a visit… even though I put in the request!

    Hospital chaplains also always ask permission to say a prayer. Most then ask what my Christian tradition is, so they can pray in a familiar way. I appreciate efforts to meet me where I am.

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  56. Linn: I can always pray for that person while I am tending to him in any of a myriad of ways, and continue praying when those tasks are done. I don’t want an unbeliever to think that prayer is magical or that I am trying to force my faith on them.

    Wonderful insights, and I just learned about rollators!

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  57. TS00: will never look at church the same

    Perhaps believers have been looking for the church in all the wrong places, TruthSeeker. I’m convinced that the institution we call church in many places is not the Church at all … at best, just a bit of the genuine embedded in a counterfeit. Somewhere, somehow over the centuries religion replaced relationship. The authority of Jesus in these institutions is waning.

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  58. My Mom’s hospice chaplain is a (former) Methodist minister, and absolutely wonderful. Very insightful, good at assessing situations, and knowing when to weigh in and when to smile and say nothing.

    Sometimes, the best prayers are those said with actions, not words.

    Speaking of, for anyone who hasn’t seen it at least a dozen times, my online petition about mom is at http://is.gd.bobmalm. Feel free to sign and share!

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  59. Max: Perhaps believers have been looking for the church in all the wrong places, TruthSeeker. I’m convinced that the institution we call church in many places is not the Church at all … at best, just a bit of the genuine embedded in a counterfeit. Somewhere, somehow over the centuries religion replaced relationship. The authority of Jesus in these institutions is waning.

    Amen to that. On this point we are in full agreement.

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  60. He read my info and actually jumped up and loudly said “God gave you prostate cancer to find the liver cancer”
    I was struck dumb and unable to think of a response. He is no longer my Urologist

    Good choice to walk away from that guy. That doctor sounds like a new calvinist and IMHO they are some of the most dangerous religious people around. I had a calvinist tell me in all sincerity that his cancer was from God “to teach me things.” I was as dumbstruck as you.

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  61. Today a pharmacist at the main shop in my (Asian) town lectured me for half an hour about all the things I was doing wrong with my health care. Including what I was eating for breakfast. Not kidding. Which was odd because I was patronizing his business. You’d think he’d want me to buy expensive medication. But no, even though a qualified doctor at the government hospital prescribed the med this pharmacists couldn’t wait to air his personal opinions- including telling me to meditate and chant to the Buddha image so I could sleep better. No amount of discussion could convince him I had a MEDICAL issue. I had to endure his lecturing for half an hour- including suggestions about multiple other supplements and pills- before he was convinced to call the pharmaceutical supply and order the medicine for goodness sake.

    This guy was (is!) dangerous.

    Any medical person who talks at a patient without listening carefully is dangerous. I don’t want my pharmacist lecturing me about meditating to the Buddha. Iowa Steve doesn’t need a new Calvinist telling him the cancer was from God. It’s not persecution for one’s faith if one is behaving like a fool.

    Unfortunately there is no other pharmacy in our town that can procure the medicine I need. Next time I’ll peek in and make sure Mr. know-it-all is not around before I walk in. I think this is what people used to do in the days before lawsuits and national press coverage.

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  62. Hi, I am a Crna and have been a nurse for over 40 years. I do pray for my patients but not all. I ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit and watch the patients responses to questions asked by others, their demeanor and other parameters. I can say , at least so far that I have never been reported and only twice have I been turned down, once by a lady who said she was a pagan ( she used those exact words) and a lady who said no thank you because as she said, her husband had used the Bible to abuse her mentally. In both cases the patients were gracious. One of the things I try to do is build a rapport with the patient, I don’t walk up and say hi and can I pray for you, I have talked with them and have tried to get to know them a bit.

    Now, “ERP” made a valid point that the patient may feel that. if he or she says no it could make me upset or offend me, but hopefully because I have spent some time with them, they will see that I am a professional and I do indeed care about them.
    If if they feel that way, I still feel the need to reach out to those that need it. I have had grown men and women weep and grab my hand so tight that I thought my knees would buckle. I would say a great many express extreme gratefulness that I pray for them. I can’t deny the majority of those patient prayer because of the risk offending a couple ( I am again sensitive to those who may feel that by refusing my praying they may offend me but I stated the belief above) . People are spiritual beings I believe and I think it is wrong not treat people as such. I have read a few studies that show that patients desire prayer and other spiritual help. Doing over 10,000 estimated anesthetics in 25 years not to mention 15 years of working trauma has proven to me that the majority are appreciative and desiring of it.
    Also in all fairness, sometimes prayer with a very ill patient is as much for my benefit as theirs. Believe me I pray all time silently for myself, my surgeon, anesthesiologists and my patients.

    All I can say is at my core, I care about my patients, want to do a good job and meet their physical and spiritual needs as best I can.

    Now what if a Muslim chaplain or LDS chaplain came to pray for me, I think I might thank them for showing concern for me in a difficult and scary time, we need that in society, and decline or I might ask them if I could pray to my God and would they be willing to hold my hand and support me. Good question which one day I may have to make a decision to do one or the other. By the way a lot of hospitals don’t have a chaplain present and my surgery center doesn’t have anyone in that capacity. Hope it gives another perspective to other voices above. Blessings.

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  63. One other comment about the British doctor, if he is not respecting their desires and is foisting his faith on them without their consent then he is violating the patients autonomy. I work with quite a number of Christian doctors and nurses and I am certain they all would agree that he is in the wrong.

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  64. Chuck: All I can say is at my core, I care about my patients

    This is an important element in this discussion. As Christians, we are exhorted to be prepared to present the reason for the hope that is within us. We can express that hope through prayer for those who are open to it.

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  65. “Never, ever forget … the internet is forever.” (Dee)

    Yep, the Internet never throws away words. It’s sort of like spices in the cabinet … they are around forever.

    That great philosopher Erma Bombeck once said “Once you get a spice in your home, you have it forever. Women never throw out spices. The Egyptians were buried with their spices. I know which one I’m taking with me when I go.”

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  66. Fisher: But no, even though a qualified doctor at the government hospital prescribed the med this pharmacists couldn’t wait to air his personal opinions- including telling me to meditate and chant to the Buddha image so I could sleep better. No amount of discussion could convince him I had a MEDICAL issue.

    He was WITNESSING(TM) to you!

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  67. NCNow: Lea: This sounds so strange to me!

    Many people who haven’t traveled a lot have trouble understanding how English isn’t all that universal between the US and UK.

    I’ve been to england, scotland and ireland and watched a lot of british tv shows/read british books. This particular one has just never come up I suppose. It’s not that I’m unfamiliar…

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  68. Headless Unicorn Guy: Fisher: I had a calvinist tell me in all sincerity that his cancer was from God “to teach me things.” I was as dumbstruck as you.

    Guy sounds like he was channeling The Pious Piper.

    “If you don’t believe God designed your cancer for you, you will waste it … Cancer is designed to destroy the appetite for sin.” (John Piper)

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  69. Friend: I just learned about rollators!

    I didn’t know they were called that but my grandmother had one! Seemed pretty handy.

    @Linn, it’s terrible that people touch you without your permission and impose on you in such a way. I have read that this is surprisingly common for people who are disabled and it makes me really try to think about my interactions with people to make certain I’m not crossing any lines inadvertently.

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  70. Max: “Cancer is designed to destroy the appetite for sin.” (John Piper)

    First some good news:

    The overall outlook for children and adolescents with cancer has improved greatly over the last half-century. In the mid-1970s, 58% of children (ages 0 to 14 years) and 68% of adolescents (ages 15 to 19 years) diagnosed with cancer survived at least 5 years (1). In 2008–2014, 83.4% of children and 84.6% of adolescents diagnosed with cancer survived at least 5 years (2). https://www.cancer.gov/types/childhood-cancers/child-adolescent-cancers-fact-sheet

    Let’s think about Piper’s vile comment in light of pediatric cancer. More US children are now surviving cancer. Does that mean Americans are sinning less? Who is losing this appetite for sin: the young patients, their parents…?

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  71. Max: That great philosopher Erma Bombeck once said “Once you get a spice in your home, you have it forever. Women never throw out spices. The Egyptians were buried with their spices. I know which one I’m taking with me when I go.”

    LOL! Thanks for the memory, Max! I always looked forward to Erma Bombeck’s articles! She was a gifted writer with a great sense of humor!

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  72. Max: Somewhere, somehow over the centuries religion replaced relationship. The authority of Jesus in these institutions is waning.

    Max, the “Religion/Relationship” expression has acquired too much negative baggage over the years; a lot of the terminology has been corrupted into its “diabolical meanings” on the Outside. “You have a (sneer) Religion; I HAVE A (SMIIILE) RELATIONSHIP!” has been a standard Jesus Juke putdown since the first Calvary Chapel. Again, the terminology has been corrupted.

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  73. Max: “If you don’t believe God designed your cancer for you, you will waste it … Cancer is designed to destroy the appetite for sin.” (John Piper)

    A line that could only have come from someone who’s own bout with cancer was with one of the most treatable kinds, caught early. (PROSTATE cancer, less than 1% kill rate, ZERO when caught and treated that early.) Like Job’s Counselors, it’s those who always have it easy who are first with the wagging-finger glib advice. (I’d say Pious Piper needs a Reality Check, but he’s already permanently sealed off from reality behind his theological event horizon.)

    Many years ago, when Eagle (remember him?) was in his Over-Spiritual cage phase, his mother was diagnosed with PANCREATIC Cancer (well over 95% kill rate no matter what the treatment). Well, he gave her Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Cancer” tract. Something he still regrets doing to this day. (His mother beat the odds and survived the pancreatic cancer but died two-three years ago of unrelated causes.)

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  74. Max: “If you don’t believe God designed your cancer for you, you will waste it … Cancer is designed to destroy the appetite for sin.” (John Piper)

    So my childhood cancer “destroyed sin”? Piper is an idiot.

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  75. Max: “If you don’t believe God designed your cancer for you, you will waste it … Cancer is designed to destroy the appetite for sin.” (John Piper)

    If your god (small ‘g’ intentional) is cruel, petulant, and only interested in aggrandizing his own glory, well then yes, such a case can be made.

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  76. Wow, so much activity going on at SBC Central, on the image crafting front.

    Just announced: SBC Executive Committee taps sports journalist to lead denominational organ Baptist Press

    http://www.bpnews.net/54169/george-schroeder-named-ecs-associate-vp-for-convention-news

    NASHVILLE (BP) — The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee has hired award-winning journalist George Schroeder as its new associate vice president for convention news…In 2012, Schroeder joined USA Today…His national college sports coverage earned him nine Associated Press Editor awards. Schroeder was named president of Football Writers Association of America…he is also a regular host and co-host of multiple shows on SiriusXM radio.”

    “George and his family are members of Trinity Baptist Church in Norman, Okla.”

    [his pastor Ronnie Rogers = bigtime PP apologist: https://ronniewrogers.com/?s=patterson ]

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  77. Lea,

    From what I’ve observed, people just think they have the right to touch anyone they want…and I don’t have a touching phobia, either. However, I just about always ask (exceptions made for toddlers running into traffic) before I try to help another disable person. Especially for the disabled, it can upset your balance and cause you to fall, which is not very helpful, of make you feel like an idiot when you actually can do something for yourself, but maybe in a different way than the rest of the world. But, when someone gets all spiritual on you, more or less implying that you don’t have enough faith to pray the right way to get yourself healed, it’s downright degrading. The person doing this may not have any idea how much faith and courage it took just to get out of bed that morning and leave the house.

    My issues are nowhere nearly as serious as some. I need help walking (hence, the walker), and I’m not very flexible, so I have reachers and dressing sticks, and all that kind of fun orthopedic stuff. I always appreciate help with a heavy door or a big bundle, but I like that person to “see” me and understand that I’m every bit the person they are, just with a few different kinds of ways of moving.

    Once, after just starting to walk a bit with a folding stationery walker and still using a wheelchair most of the time after major surgery, I walked into the church restroom. The lady in front of me decided to ‘help” me by taking away my walker! I was hugging the door frame, too far away to get back to my wheelchair without help, and I had to yell for someone to get my chair. Let’s just say I wasn’t happy, and I almost ended up on the floor. It’s why you ask.

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  78. Max: “If you don’t believe God designed your cancer for you, you will waste it … Cancer is designed to destroy the appetite for sin.” (John Piper)

    When I read that kind of thing, I think I understand something about the phrase, often attributed to God himself in the Old Testament, “detestable idols“.

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  79. dee: My husband is a cardiologist ands does pray on occasion with a patient.

    Dee, are you able to share how this comes about?

    I’m genuinely struggling with my own love of prayer vs. the idea of a doctor proselytizing (which is strictly forbidden in some hospitals). How does your husband steer clear of that? I do trust that he does.

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  80. My thoughts: A doctor can always pray for his/her patient both before and after time with the patient. He can pray silently while with the patient. God hears these prayers. If the patient requests the doctor pray with them he can acknowledge that request and ask any that would like to be excused to briefly step out of the room.

    I have been a hospital chaplain as well as a pastor doing hospital visitation. I usually wear a badge indicating that I am a pastor/chaplain and I follow similar guidelines above.

    This approach has been well received.

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  81. Last summer I lost a dear friend to cancer. She was ill for five years, and one of the interesting parts about her journey was that, when she was scheduled to meet with the surgeon, she realized that they both went to the same church. My friend wanted to pray with her surgeon before the operation, and in this case, it seemed very appropriate. The relationship was always professional, but also friendly. Once the surgeon was out of the picture and my friend went on to chemo, they prayed together all the time-both for my friend’s healing and for the ministry the surgeon had with her patients. The surgeon also spoke fondly of my friend at the memorial service. Situations don’t usually turn out this way, but I think there are those occasions when prayer with the attending physician may be okay-but I don’t think they’re the norm.

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  82. Max: “If you don’t believe God designed your cancer for you, you will waste it … Cancer is designed to destroy the appetite for sin.” (John Piper)

    It’s too bad that Piper was not around to instruct Jesus on what to say in the parable of the wheat and tares in Matthew 13. It’s pretty clear that Jesus should never have said, “An enemy has done this!” No, it would have been much better for him to have said, “God has done this.”
    (/sarcasm)

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  83. People equate spiritual health with religion. Spiritual well-being means being comfortable with whatever belief system you have.
    It sounds like this doctor could not stay in his lane. There’s more to this than prayer. I’ll bet the conversation revolved about where the patient might wind up in whatever afterlife there is. Or manipulation of those who have cognitive difficulty. He’s a fanatic – never a good thing.
    I worked as a nursing assistant at a mental health center for 8 years. This is almost 30 years ago and the staff there treated spiritual health with great sensitivity. We had to, many delusions revolved around religion.
    Some sects would leave religious tracts in patient common rooms.
    One of my duties was to clear them out. The fear of heck takes some frightening wrong turns in the mind of an active schizophrenic. Not good for spiritual health at all.

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  84. Agnostic Episcopalian here – I would be very uncomfortable if a doctor asked if they could pray with me. I don’t think it’s really appropriate unless the patient asks the doctor. Please not I am hardly anti-prayer. If I were going into surgery or something I would definitely want a chaplain or priest to show up for company and comfort, including prayer. I’d rather the doctors and nurses concentrate on the medicine side, while the chaplains or whoever deal with the spiritual side.

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  85. ishy: So my childhood cancer “destroyed sin”? Piper is an idiot.

    Oh, Piper is most assuredly an idiot. I will never understand how he got to be so revered. A biggish fish in a small pond I guess. As I have said here many times, I wonder that he has no friends to tell him to ST heck U. He embarasses himself regularly, or did back in the day. Hmmm, maybe he had some friends rein him in…

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  86. Rachel:
    Agnostic Episcopalian here – I would be very uncomfortable if a doctor asked if they could pray with me.I don’t think it’s really appropriate unless the patient asks the doctor.Please not I am hardly anti-prayer.If I were going into surgery or something I would definitely want a chaplain or priest to show up for company and comfort, including prayer.I’d rather the doctors and nurses concentrate on the medicine side, while the chaplains or whoever deal with the spiritual side.

    If the doctor was a believer, and asked, why would that make you uncomfortable. Just say “I’m sorry, I’d rather not”, and that would be the end of it.

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  87. I posted a comment that appeared briefly, and then seems to have been deleted without a trace. I’d like to know why. If it’s because I said Piper was an idiot, well, I was just agreeing with the comment I was replying to, and you need to delete that comment as well.

    If it was something else, I’d like to know what it was, to avoid it in future. But silently deleting comments with no explanation is not particularly helpful.

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  88. roebuck,

    There’s a power imbalance there that bothers me as a potential patient, especially if I don’t know the doctor well which is likelier with a specialist surgeon than my regular GP. I’ve run into Christians before who don’t seem to be well able to take “No thanks” as an answer and the last thing I would want to encounter is a doctor who feels that way. I don’t give a rat’s hindquarters about what faith a doctor follows if they’re good and I’d rather they not care about mine except for seeing that if I need spiritual support that it is arranged for me.

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  89. There seems to be some important details missing here.
    First, because this happened in England, Americans need to understand that choosing and changing doctors under socialized medicine-NHS is not as easy as it is in the US. In the US we don’t have lengthy waiting lists and we can generally choose and change our doctors for any reason, or no reason. That’s not necessarily the case in Kent. I changed doctors once purely over the sports team the doctor supported. We don’t know how much choice Dr Scott’s patients had.

    Second, some of the doctor’s statements were a bit extreme and went far beyond “praying” for the patient. In one of the complaints he told a patient that ”the devil haunts people who do not turn to Jesus”. This isn’t appropriate for a GP doctor to say during the course of treating a patient. Frankly, it sounds like Dr Scott might be a Bethel Redding devotee who may be at risk of ruling out organic causes in favor of his personal spiritual beliefs. Bethel teaches that mental disorders are caused by demonic possession. This could potentially endanger the patient unnecessarily.

    Third, on a different complaint Dr Scott states that he “went on to suggest the patient might benefit from a Christian Faith OVER his own religion”…”The patient…was left very upset, felt Dr Scott had belittled his own faith and made a complaint.” A physician trying to undermine a family’s current religious belief system, as part of the treatment, is not appropriate. That patient had every right to be upset and to file a complaint.

    Personally, I feel comforted when I see a health care professional wearing a cross. But if any health care professional told me that I would benefit from converting away from Christianity and over to their faith, it wouldn’t be as simple as the sports team deal. The least I’d be doing is filing a complaint with their oversight, if they had one. Same deal if I had a doctor trying to scare me by suggesting my symptoms might be linked to demonic possession.

    The Hippocratic Oath states, in part, “First, do no harm”. I consider Dr Scott’s actions, in these two cases, to be potentially hurtful, if not harmful, to his patients.

    This story sounds like the fodder used by men like Kelly Shackelford, to raise money using scare tactics. When we look at the facts underlying this case, it probably is a good thing that this particular doctor is being watched for his insensitive remarks and dodgy medical advice.

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  90. Amy Moore,

    You make some excellent points, especially about the conversion aspect. But it’s not easy to change doctors in the US. Active duty military folks and veterans are often locked into systems. Insurance policies have out-of-network restrictions. I have waited months for surgery in the USA. One of my procedures is only performed in a half-dozen places in the country. We have a shortage of doctors in rural areas.

    On to something a little humorous. I hope the Christian doctor never took the Hippocratic oath, which declares loyalty to pagan idols: “I swear by Apollo the physician, and Asclepius, and Hygieia and Panacea and all the gods and goddesses as my witnesses, that, according to my ability and judgement, I will keep this Oath and this contract…”

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  91. Amy Moore: In the US we don’t have lengthy waiting lists and we can generally choose and change our doctors for any reason, or no reason.

    Not where I live, unfortunately. In fact, I don’t even see an actual doctor most of the time, it takes me weeks to get in to see the nurse practitioner. And every year the network I can choose from gets smaller. There is a lot of variation in the US, depending on where you live.

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  92. Friend:
    Amy Moore,

    You make some excellent points, especially about the conversion aspect. But it’s not easy to change doctorsin the US. Active duty military folks and veterans are often locked into systems. Insurance policies have out-of-network restrictions. I have waited months for surgery in the USA. One of my procedures is only performed in a half-dozen places in the country. We have a shortage of doctors in rural areas.

    On to something a little humorous. I hope the Christian doctor never took the Hippocratic oath, which declares loyalty to pagan idols: “I swear by Apollo the physician, and Asclepius, and Hygieia and Panacea and all the gods and goddesses as my witnesses, that, according to my ability and judgement, I will keep this Oath and this contract…”

    I am so sorry about your medical experiences. I hope you get the help you need. Acceptance rates at medical schools still hovers around 40%. You’d think that these schools would expand their class sizes and waive tuition and fees for those willing to serve in more rural areas.

    I have multiple veterans on all sides of the family who use the VA system, so I know exactly where you’re coming from. It’s pretty close to NHS. You no doubt better understand what it’s like for these Kent patients who are likely not able to change doctors easily, including the patient encouraged to abandon his current faith and the other being told about demons haunting the unsaved.

    I found the specifics of the complaints to be concerning and the doctor should not have said those particular things. I think the article was framed in a way to drive a wider divide between the Left and Right (like we need that right now). I think a lot of this is done to drive up fund-raising and a doctor potentially being fired for being a Christian will be framed as religious persecution and DayStar, TBN & First Liberty et al will be pushing this at every fund-raiser, instead of doing a little research to find why these patients bothered to file the complaints.

    And the old oath did make me laugh. I was imagining this same doctor telling the young man to ditch Jehovah for Zeus to improve his health then bonking him on the head with some Shaman rattle. In the Marvel Comics world we live in, the conversion might be easier if the doc switches to Nordic gods and sports long wavy blond hair.

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  93. SiteSeer: Not where I live, unfortunately. In fact, I don’t even see an actual doctor most of the time, it takes me weeks to get in to see the nurse practitioner. And every year the network I can choose from gets smaller. There is a lot of variation in the US, depending on where you live.

    I’m so sorry you are experiencing that SiteSeer. It makes it even more important for doctors to behave professionally when you finally do get an appointment.

    I’m fortunate to live in the fifth largest metroplex in the US, so I do have the freedom to walk away from weird or less than professional doctors, and I have.

    Texas also keeps their medical school tuition super low (all schools, even the private ones, are <$18K year – which is far cheaper than a private uni undergrad degree here). Texas also gives preference to Texans with the hope that they’ll stay in Texas. Most schools here have over 94% instate students. Texas doesn’t get a lot of things right, but I wish more states ran their medical schools like we do. We have lots of them. We’re building more. Class sizes are being expanded. We make tuition cheap and recruit kids who will stay here and care for the locals. Many of the hospitals here offer to pay part to all of the student loans off if the graduate stays local.

    Over 8k medical school grads per year go unmatched for their residencies, meaning that while they graduated from medical school, they can not practice medicine in the US until they complete a residency. I’m not saying that all 8k should be found residencies. A fair amount are foreigners and hospitals can’t be certain of their academic credentials or cultural appropriateness. Others barely made it through US medical schools. But there are still thousands left not practicing medicine who could be if training hospitals made room for them.

    Some rural communities are petitioning to allow these unmatched students to work in rural clinics, supervised by doctors, in order to help resolve the doctor shortage. It doesn’t count as a residency but it is helping to ease the shortage. I hope more communities petition for this. Americans deserve to receive competent care in a timely manner. If we can’t do better, no one can.

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  94. Amy Moore,

    I’m glad there’s an effort to address the shortage. Could there be a relationship between new medical schools and unqualified graduates? Maybe the schools are not yet up to speed, and are admitting folks who would never be let into established institutions. We need better high school and undergraduate education, and maybe bigger established med schools.

    Re: foreigners, many finished med school overseas, and have to go through med school a second time in the US. Personally, I can’t recall a culturally inappropriate foreign doc, although I could name a few insensitive American docs (kind of joking here, but I do have stories!).

    I think it would be hard for a qualified doc to oversee an unqualified med school grad in a rural area. Better to keep training and educating until they are competent.

    Some people who fail board exams set up rural medical practices because patients are desperate. One such person talked his way into being the official “doctor” for children’s summer camps. I called for an appointment, and the receptionist refused to tell me his qualifications. She said I would have to make an appointment and discuss it with the “doctor” during the exam! We informed the camp, and drove 40 miles to see someone else.

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