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I came across this article today: http://religionnews.com/2017/06/21/how-religious-literacy-can-save-lives/ that was written by Aamir Hussain, a medical student at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. In his article, he talks about the need for both patients and doctors to openly communicate their beliefs and goals when it comes to medical procedures. Here are a few pithy points that stood out to me. How religious literacy can save lives By Aamir Hussain Health care providers should be aware of their patient’s cultural practices and be able to suggest options for maintaining medication compliance without transgressing the person’s faith. Failure to acknowledge how faith impacts medical care can lead to challenges and even life-threatening situations. During my surgery rotation, I learned of a team that was preparing to perform a simple gallbladder operation. As the team wheeled the patient into the operating room, the patient mentioned that she was a Jehovah’s Witness and would not consent to blood transfusions. Although the operation was straightforward and would likely not require any blood products, the team decided to delay the surgery to implement Cell Saver, a machine developed with the input of Jehovah’s Witnesses that collects and sterilizes patients’ own blood and delivers it back to them, if needed. For patients, it’s helpful to volunteer the subject during routine doctor visits. Constructive conversations about religion and health are often a two-way street, and both parties should take care to respect the beliefs of the other. The main pitfall of increased religious literacy among health providers is generalization. Not all people keep the same faith practices. Therefore, health care providers must strike a balance between understanding religious diversity and respecting patients’ individual preferences.
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