Saturday, September 15, 2012

Concrete Difference Made By Religion - Leaving People on Life Support

Non-religious people take more moderate end-of-life care measures than religious people. And physicians take more moderate end-of-life care measures than everyone else. What does that tell us?

In the UK, physicians have denounced the practice of religious parents leaving children on life support, waiting for miracles to happen. Already in my first year on the wards, people have asked the team I was on for more time on the machines, and "didn't we believe in miracles" (exactly those words).  That is to say, miracles have never been observed, but people waiting for them has been.  Sadly, often.

Whatever way you evaluate the morality of these important decisions, and the beliefs which cause us to arrive at them, religion clearly causes people to put other considerations ahead of human suffering. 

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