An eye-opening survey reveals widespread belief that divine intervention can revive dying patients. And, researchers said, doctors “need to be prepared to deal with families who are waiting for a miracle.”
“More than half of randomly surveyed adults — 57 percent — said God’s intervention could save a family member even if physicians declared treatment would be futile. And nearly three-quarters said patients have a right to demand such treatment.”
The full article appears here: http://www.archsurg.com
The pressure to come through with a miracle often falls on the doctor. Doctors need to be aware and sensitive to the belief systems of the families of their patients. As a trained scientist, it is difficult to incorporate the range of belief systems encountered into the treatment options. The physician, however, must stick with fact and provide information to the best of their knowledge.
It just might be a good idea to mentally rehearse responses to possible family inquiries. What would you say if a family member asks, “A miracle is possible, right?”
Most doctors have already encountered this question though few are ever prepared with an answer. We know that attitude does affect outcome. That means it is not a good idea to dismiss the families belief system as irrational. The possibility of an unexplainable turnaround is always possible. All doctors have stories of “miraculous” recoveries. Consider leaving the door open to divine intervention by saying something like, “I am doing everything I can without closing the door to a miracle. But I have a responsibility to tell you that I do not see a positive outcome from the information I have.” You’ll have the words if you give this some thought before you’re hit with the question.
This isn’t an easy situation to handle but it comes with the territory. Try to remember you’re dealing with people. People aren’t always rational. And when a loved one is facing death, rationality diminishes further.
Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog
15 Minutes after I posted the above, this story came out on the news wire (Reuters):
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A stillborn Israeli baby who was pronounced dead by doctors “came back to life” on Monday after spending hours in a hospital refrigerator.
The baby, weighing only 600 grams at birth, spent at least five hours inside one of the hospital’s refrigerated , before her parents, who had taken her to be buried, began noticing some movement.
“We unwrapped her and felt she was moving. We didn’t believe it at first. Then she began holding my mother’s hand, and then we saw her open her mouth,” said 26-year-old Faiza Magdoub, the baby’s mother.
The baby was pronounced dead several hours earlier, after doctors at Western Galilee hospital in northern Israel. Magdoub was 23 weeks into her pregnancy.
“We don’t know how to explain this, so when we don’t know how to explain things in the medical world we call it a miracle, and this is probably what happened,” hospital deputy director Moshe Daniel said.
The baby was then taken to the hospital’s for further treatment, but doctors were not sure how long she will live.
Motti Ravid, a professor of , told Israel’s Channel 10 that the low temperature inside the cooler had slowed down the baby’s metabolism and likely helped her survive.