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Prayer on the hospital floor
Date:12/16/2009

joined in prayers with families and/or participated in religious rituals, like baptism, at the bedside. Many more accommodated prayers but didn't actively participate in them. Said one physician: "I participate in prayers. I mean in the sense that I generally sit quietly and listen to their prayer in what I hope is a respectful manner." Another explained, "I remember a case where everyone was standing around a bed and the family wanted everyone to bow their heads with them and I did it out of respect for the family."

A third group of pediatricians reframed the prayer requests in ways they think are more realistic and appropriate, said Cadge. As one pediatric oncologist explained, "I try not to bring myself into it, because I don't want this to be about me, and I don't want the family to think I have more power to cure their child than I actually have." The fourth group of physicians responded to requests for prayer by referring patients and families to other resources, such as the family's religious leaders or hospital chaplains.

"Our study showed that the situations that give rise to requests and physicians' behaviors in response are more complex than simply praying or not praying," said Cadge. She added that all of the physicians wanted to be respectful of families' prayers even if they did not want to participate or share the family's religious or spiritual beliefs.


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Contact: Laura Gardner
gardner@brandeis.edu
781-736-4204
Brandeis University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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