Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Is religion clouding your doctor's judgement?

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Where's the line between religion and medical science? While there's passionate opinions on both sides of this debate, a recent survey finds that -- at least in some way -- most doctors include their faith in their practice.

For better or for worse, "This is yet more evidence that doctors are not just objective, neutral scientists. Their religious or secular commitments influence the way they respond to patients and the way they interpret data," Dr. Farr Curlin, the study's author, told Reuters.

Very few doctors seem to think religion has any effect on "hard" medical outcomes, like miraculous healing, but those who are most religious are significantly more likely to report patients bringing up issues of religion and spirituality, and many feel it has a positive effect on their patients.

Researchers say this indicates that doctors should keep a close eye of their own views, and how that might bias their decisions.

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