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When a patient visit includes a request for prayer

June 11, 2012

[] by Kevin O’Reilly

Physicians are accustomed to fielding many challenging questions from patients, but there is one query that they may find especially flummoxing, considering the delicate terrain it requires them to traverse.

The question: “Doctor, will you pray with me?”

It’s not a far-fetched scenario. About two-thirds of patients believe doctors should know about their spiritual beliefs, said a survey of nearly 500 adults from Florida, North Carolina and Vermont in the January 2003 Journal of General Internal Medicine. One in five patients likes the idea of praying with the doctor during a routine office visit, while nearly 30% want to do so during a hospital stay, the study found. Half of patients would want to pray with the doctor in a near-death scenario.  Read story»

About 75% of physicians say patients sometimes or often mention spiritual issues such as God, prayer, meditation or the Bible, said an April 9, 2007, article in Archives of Internal Medicine.

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