A gastroenterologist prescribes prayer for treatment. “To my surprise, the doctor came in and gave me not only his five minutes but also his five cents worth. And get this, he didn’t even mention my temperamental entrails. Instead, he asked me about my backpack. No, not the literal one I had in college. But rather, the figurative one I’ve been carrying around ever since. In other words, he wanted to know what kind of stuff I’ve been shouldering.

Then he did the really unexpected. He suggested a 365-day-a-year treatment that wouldn’t cost me any more than a few minutes of my time, along with a measure of my will. He wrote me a prescription — for prayer.

By the time I picked my lower jaw up off of the floor, the doctor had gone on to explain how lightening my load, by trusting God with my day-to-day concerns instead of trying to carry them on my own, would take a burden off my body, too.”

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  • Anonymous

    Many people I see in the ER for headaches, back pain, anxiety, abdominal pain, etc. don’t need more medical tests or more medications. What they really need is some some spiritual enrichment, some supportive friends, an exercise program, etc. I think I would start losing credibility if I started espousing that at 0200 in the morning. Plus it could be an early case of transverse myelitis or some other rare disease from outer space that the legal establishment is just waiting for you to miss.

    My kudos to this GI doctor.

  • Agnosia

    I am atheist. I’m reminded of the way Alcoholics Anonymous incorporates faith in God as an integral part of its treatment. I just finished my psychiatry rotation, (as a third year med student), and I was surprised to hear my attending occassionally talk about how important faith is.

    I don’t see anything wrong with what my attending does, but perhaps this GE doc should have referred to psychiatry.

  • Anonymous

    why is a psychiatrist the only one qualified to talk about faith? I agree that faith talk should not be forced upon anyone who really does not want to hear it, but if someone wants to explore it, it does not need to be a psychiatrist. You yourself harbor some degree of faith — that is that atheism is the reality. You don’t have to be a psychiatrist to discuss your world view.

  • Bad Shift

    I agree with anonymous #1, but would add that there are non-religious ways to encourage spiritual enrichment, exercise, etc. I occasionally prescribed “Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabbat-Zinn” which is an 8 week program of meditation, breathing and simple yoga. I’m an ER doc as well, so I only do this for patients with whom I have established some sort of repoire, and for those who are pretty unlikely to have an early case of transverse myelitis.

  • Anonymous

    Patients don’t come to us for faith healing. Patients come to us for science-based healing because we have gone to school for it and have been accredited by society to administer this type of healing. A few years ago, I called a roofer to fix my leaking roof. After the small talk, he asked me to pray with him and hold his hands,before starting work and this lasted for 3 minutes,right in front of my house. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with that. But I just wanted my roof fixed.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with the last poster. I go to church on Sunday and Wednesday for Prayer and faith. When I see my physician’s I want his medical expertise. I also think it is perfectly ok to incorporate religion as part of the overall poackage. When I was in the middle of fighting cancer, my oncologist told me that he was doing everything he could do, I was doing everything I could do and the rest was up to God. He was absolutely right.

  • gasman

    Surely the physician described would rely upon evidence based religious faith, invoking only the ‘One True®’ religion. As long as belief system is confirmed correct by rigorous clinical trial who can argue with prayer.

    Just be certain that you have the ‘One True®’ religion and all your ills will be cured.

  • Anonymous

    “Patients come to us for science-based healing”

    Most of the time, especially in the ER, patients come to us for reassurance, not medicines. I wish I could tell my patients all they need is an outlet, and should go exercise or something. But because of scumbag lawyers, instead I order ct scans, give them antibiotics for viruses (or depression) and am miserable as I let the lawyers suck the life right out of me and my profession.

  • Anonymous

    “Patients don’t come to us for faith healing. Patients come to us for science-based healing because we have gone to school for it”

    Sure, but when “scientific” or western medicine has nothing to offer a person then it is completely appropriate to refer them outside the circle.

  • Anonymous

    It seems like an endless cycle to me. If I come to you and there is no medical reason why I need medication then please don’t give me any. I don’t give a damn about lawyer’s and I don’t want a Dr. that is that easily intimidated by someone else’s profession. I’m not sure I get where you think you have to over prescribe medication to protect yourself? That in itself seems like malpractice. We pay good money for your scientific expertise, if there is nothing wrong with us that substantiates you treating us, then just be honest before you, (Physician’s) create an entire generation of hypochondriacs (sp). If you order all these tests and medications then we must be sick, Eh?

  • Talar Joint

    To link some of the comment threads, I’d like to say medicine has made my way more politically liberal, way less believing in claims as the existence of the supernatural, and way less likely to prescribe antibiotics (or ask for them).

  • Anonymous

    “if there is nothing wrong with us that substantiates you treating us, then just be honest before you, (Physician’s) create an entire generation of hypochondriacs (sp). If you order all these tests and medications then we must be sick, Eh?”

    I think we all understand and are aware of that. A big problem is that you cannot be 100% certain that there is nothing wrong. There will always be a rare case of transverse myelitis, hidden cancer, autoimmune disorder etc… So more tests are ordered, consultations obtained. The legal profession is the driving force behind that. Your criticism is justified, it is just directed at the wrong profession.

  • Anonymous

    “”if there is nothing wrong with us that substantiates you treating us, then just be honest before you, (Physician’s) create an entire generation of hypochondriacs (sp). If you order all these tests and medications then we must be sick, Eh?”

    Agree with above. As a patient You have absolutely nothing to do with your health care anymore. It is doctors treating lawyers, not patients. I could care less if you become a hypochondriac, I just don’t want you to become a plaintiff.

  • Anonymous

    It’s amazing how little physicians take responsibility for their own actions.

  • Anonymous

    “It’s amazing how little physicians take responsibility for their own actions”

    Unfortunately, in my hospital there’s not a lot of little physicians. Maybe, this trait should be a prerequisite to acceptance to a medical school.

  • Anonymous

    It is amazing how little responsibility lawyers will take for ruining the medical profession and the interaction between patients and doctors.

  • Anonymous

    It’s amazing how little physicians take responsibility for their own actions.

    The Vietnamese doctors at my hospital are the littlest, therefore they must be the most responsible.

  • Anonymous

    It is easy to blame lawyers – I like to do it too, all the time. But without doctors who are more than willing to become “expert witnesses” and provide misleading or plain wrong information, no lawsuit will be won.
    I am now reading G. Welch’s “Should I be tested for cancer” and there is a case there related to PSA testing. I might get a few details wrong, but basically, the doctor didn’t order a PSA test, the patient developed aggressive cancer and died. The urologist testified for the plaintif saying that “if the test had been done n months ago the patient would’ve been alive today”. Nobody can say that for sure because 1. the test could’ve been negative at the time 2. the cancer could’ve been too aggressive for the test to make a difference. But a “specialist” made this statement at the trial.

    So why don’t you blame you collegues for becoming these “expert witnesses”? Why don’t you blame the doctors who for years have been convincing us how the early diagnosis is so important, how every second matters and how everything can be cured if just “caught early”, but that without the early test we are bound to die. Lawyers haven’t come up with this idea all on their own, patients haven’t just woken up and decided that. You guys convinced us, and judging from all the doctors websites continue convincing us; and now that we believe it, you complain… Now all we are supposed to do is to worry about this or that desease. This desease awareness month, that desease awareness month. Difficult not to become a hypochondriac.

  • Anonymous

    So why don’t you blame you collegues for becoming these “expert witnesses”?

    We do, they are unethical scum of the earth. There are many efforts underway to expose and sanction this.

    The point regarding disease awareness hysteria is also well taken. Often this is promotion by medical related organizations, and not necessarily physician driven. A good example is American Heart Association who promotes “brain attack” symptoms for rapid evaluation of possible stroke. This is in effort to give TPA to patients. It would not be a surprise to hear that the makers of TPA financially support the AHA. Never mind the science and studies are unconvincing and barriers to giving TPA are nearly impossible to overcome

  • Anonymous

    “So why don’t you blame you collegues for becoming these “expert witnesses”? “

    Because it’s a systems issue. Why should a person be allowed to go on a witness stand as an expert witness, and be allowed to blatantly lie in order to receive a paycheck? Example an ER doc sends home a 25 year old with chest pain and normal evaluation. Patient drops dead 2 hours later. Expert witness Cardiologist testifies in court “If I saw the same 25 year old I would have admitted him. It’s the “standard of care”. Jury doesn’t know shit, believes this “specialist”. Why is this allowed?

  • Anonymous

    It’s amazing that physicians win at trial 75% of the time with such moronic jurors.

    Don’t you hate it when the truth undermines your bullshit?

    The funny thing about expert witnesses is that for all your condemnation of them, few, if any of you would actually testify for the plaintiff in a clear case of malpractice. That’s because you’re not interested in truth or justice yourselves, you’re interested in protecting your own wallets.

    CJD

  • Anonymous

    PSA testing may not have any value as published in Journal Watch:
    http://general-medicine.jwatch.org/cgi/content/full/2004/1231/8

  • Anonymous

    “That’s because you’re not interested in truth or justice yourselves, you’re interested in protecting your own wallets.”

    And what are you interested in CJD? Is it justice or the Jackpot?
    We know the answer.

  • Anonymous

    The reason any of these paid expert witnesses can lie to the jurors is that there is lack of accountability.
    Each Board of the American Board of Specialties should have a panel to review the statements made by their respective members. These expert witnesses use their membership to the board (“I’m Board Certified”)as 1 proof of
    their expertise. Therefore, if any of their members such as that Cardiologist above make a statement not supported by facts or the prevailing standard of care, then they can be penalized by getting a warning and it will show in his record the next time he appears in court as an expert witness, that his peers do not consider him an expert.

  • Anonymous

    Seriously, you’re in no position to be lecturing others about altruism. Aren’t you the whiny anonymice that retired at 45?

  • Anonymous

    It’s amazing that physicians win at trial 75% of the time with such moronic jurors.

    I think it is more a reflection of moronic lawyers bringing stupid cases to court.

  • Anonymous

    Wait, I thought med mal was the best place to get a jackpot. So it wouldn’t be moronic at all.

    All your nonsense keeps running into itself. Don’t you hate it when your only statements make you look like a fool? No wonder you feel so impotent.

    CJD

  • Anonymous

    No, CJD. I’m still working.
    I’m one of those who provide facts in this blog.
    You ASSume a lot.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t keep you cowardly anonymice straight. My apologies.

    CJD

  • Anonymous

    This thread is supposed to be about prayer prescription in medical practice but CJD just has to ruin the conversation just as his clones ruin the conversations between patients and doctors.

  • Anonymous

    “It’s amazing that physicians win at trial”

    Physicians never win at trial. We’re forced into your moronic arena. It’s like saying we win by getting a mild case of gonorrhea.

  • Anonymous

    “The funny thing about expert witnesses is that for all your condemnation of them, few, if any of you would actually testify for the plaintiff in a clear case of malpractice”

    We don’t believe in your form of financial prsotitution. why would we unzip our fly’s and put our dicks in your disgusting lottery?

  • Anonymous

    You don’t believe in it? Maybe that’s why nearly a million doctors have filed suit against health insurers. Because they don’t believe in it.

    Once again, the facts smack the bullshit out of the park.

  • Anonymous

    A million doctors? That’s pretty much every doctor in the country. Put it back in your pants, asswipe.