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Christianity in the exam room — finding a secular doctor

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I'm not looking for advice — I just want to complain about doctors who bring their religion into the exam room and/or let their religious beliefs affect their approach to medicine. No matter how healthy you are, as you get older you will see various doctors including specialists. It seems that the days of the family doctor who took care of 90 percent of your ailments is gone, and in the last five or ten years I’ve been sent to a dermatologist, a urologist, an ophthalmologist, an orthopedist, and so on.

 

And I have just left one specialist who, during my exam, used the word "blessed" at least six times. I will not be going back.

 

Taking it further, our state has a “right to die” law that allows a terminally ill person to receive drugs from a physician to end his or her life. On my first visit to another specialist, I asked him if he would sign on for such an event and he said that he was a Christian and could not do that. While I haven’t asked all of my various doctors this question, I know that at least one and possibly two others are strongly religious and probably would not participate. And that is a problem that other folks in this state are having — finding doctors who will go along with the law.

 

Fortunately, my family practice doctor is a realist, but I live in Fundyville; the mega-churches abound and new ones seem to be built frequently. And specialists are in high demand here and it is hard to be picky. There are only two hospitals, one of which is run by the Catholic church. And the church has issued orders to their hospitals to confine their treatments to those which fit into Catholic theology. Unfortunately, I have a Very Serious condition that, although it’s under control and is of no immediate threat, could conceivably be life ending, and the best place to treat that is affiliated with the Catholic hospital. And the doctor who is treating me has a good reputation in the business and is very thorough. Finding someone else here in this very narrow specialty would be extremely difficult. But it is possible that I could be in the position of wanting to take advantage of that death with dignity law.

 

Of course, I have directed my family to take me to the secular hospital should the need arise, but that is not the time to be shopping for a doctor. So I just hope that I’m never in a position where my health care needs conflict with someone’s religious philosophy.

 

A contributor to this site, Valerie Tarico, wrote about this back in 2013, and she concludes:

When it comes to medical options, whose beliefs count, the Bishop’s or the patient’s? Who gets to say whether one woman is forced to incubate a pregnancy gone wrong or another is force fed at the end of life? Whose version of god gets to dictate how you live and how we die? 
 

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Well, THAT sounds depressing.

 

I have never run into that with medical professionals. There was one nurse in a rehab facility that I visited many times for friends and family. She was very nice, but she would put the television on religious shit and talk the talk. I didn't want to be mean because she was nice and meant well, but I did tell her to turn off the God TV show. But it was only the one nurse, so not complaining here.

 

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My GP is a pentecostal Christian. But he's ok! When I was a believer we chatted about our beliefs and used to pull each other's legs on theological stuff. When I became an ex-Christian I told him. Our leg-pulling changed but still was ok. One day he told me that he prayed for me (perhaps he prays for all his patients, I wouldn't be surprised). But that changed the relationship a bit for me. He has never suggested that prayer would help me - he'd get a big flea in his ear if he did.

To be fair, the GP practice changed its booking procedures to one which I hate - so I don't go sometimes when I know I should. If I changed surgery I would not miss my GP.

Even before I became ex-Christian I felt strongly that religion/faith has no part in the doctor/nurse - patient relationship.

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Oddly, I'm almost in an opposite sort of situation, the doctors have firmly decided that I'm a hypochondriac and apparently put that in either my record or their private notes to each other that aren't part of the record. This started when I went to see a doc about some odd issues, and was met with "I don't know, could be anything". <insert blank stare here> After a few visits my doc seemed pissed that I was wasting his time since I didn't have an arm hanging off by a bloody thread. He quit and the next one immediately started buttering me up with lavish praise about being such a knowledgeable patient... <insert blank stare here>.  I didn't go back to her. I went to urgent care for another issue and was treated normally until they looked at my record, then suddenly they reacted oddly, shut the computer, and behaved curtly. I learned that modern docs don't care to troubleshoot unless it seems like a critical issue, not a minor chronic one. So in a way, their beliefs are now affecting my interactions with new physicians. 

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7 hours ago, Fuego said:

After a few visits my doc seemed pissed that I was wasting his time

 

There was another specialist I went to years ago who scolded me for wasting his time and said, and this is a direct quote that I will not forget, "If our waiting room was full of people with your condition we wouldn't make any money."

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It seems that UK is not alone in having a clapped out health system.

My last visit to my GP was the third in a series trying to get to the bottom (head, actually) of dizziness and headaches. He, along with consultants, had found nothing. He then issued the coup de grace 'it's something you have to learn to live with'. I did wonder whether my revelation of becoming an ex-Christian had anything to do with it.

 

'

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My GP and her PA are both religious.  I keep going because they are so convenient to where I live, but bite my tongue and keep quiet when they make comments about trusting God, etc.   

 

It is aggravating to be sent all over town to different specialist.  I have refused to go to a couple of them recently.  I think they are lining the pockets of their friends and themselves by doing so many tests.  I told one specialist that recently,  and he got really pissed off.  Told me he didn't want to see me anymore.  I told him thst was okay with me.  But that is a whole other rant.

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     Back when I was seeing a neurologist she left and I wound up with a nurse practitioner.  I thought this was okay since the heavy lifting was pretty much over and we were just fine tuning things at this point.  During one visit she says something along the lines of none of this really matters since we'll get perfect bodies in the next life.  I didn't care for this attitude and didn't want to see her anymore.  The problem was my meds turned my mind to mush and I had troubles communicating (something I wanted to, but failed, to communicate to her).  So when they called to confirm my appointment with her I readily agreed.

 

     Shortly afterward (read: minutes later), my mind cleared from its fog and I realized I had agreed to see this person again.  I called back to change to someone else which prompted them to ask why the sudden change of mind (of course it wasn't sudden).  I told them that I didn't care for her bringing religion into the examination room and told them what she had said.  Even though they were a religiously affiliated institution they weren't supposed to bring it into the examination rooms like that so they switched me to someone else and a complaint was made.  I went through two other folks (since they had a shortage of neurologists due to my original doc leaving).  At one point I found myself back in a room with her and her attitude had changed.  She was still very pleasant but the religious bits had been left at the door.  She even helped sort my meds in a way that she had failed to do when we had first interacted.

 

     I'm still in this same network and I never have a problem with them talking religion with me.  They do, in a couple of their buildings (mainly the hospital and in the halls not the offices or exam rooms) have pics of jesus, but that's to be expected.

 

          mwc

 

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