Religion, Patients, and Medical Ethics
As two important responses to human suffering, religion and medicine are bound to intersect. Occasionally the values of secular medicine and those of religion conflict. Beliefs can shape patient values and treatment decisions in ways that physicians do not understand. Likewise, caregiver beliefs can conflict with the obligations of the profession, as sometimes seen in physician exercise of conscientious objection to particular medical services. This month's issue explores confrontations between religion and medicine and suggests how health care professionals can to respond to them effectively.