Medicine of the Person: Faith, Science, and Values in Health Care Provision

Medicine of the Person: Faith, Science, and Values in Health Care Provision

Medicine of the Person: Faith, Science, and Values in Health Care Provision

Medicine of the Person: Faith, Science, and Values in Health Care Provision

Synopsis

Written for practitioners in the field of mental health services, this study explores the culture of psychiatry and reaffirms the importance of anthropology for understanding psychiatric practice and psychological disorders.

Excerpt

This fascinating volume tries to get to grips with the science/religion debate. in the footsteps of the great Christian doctor, Paul Tournier, it tries to argue that we need both science and faith – or at least values. and our varying faiths, cultures and values need addressing within the health care system. So health care professionals need to think beyond the wholly clinical and scientific approach, and look instead to a more personal interaction. Nurses need to recognize the person’s culture, faith and values as well as their clinical needs in terms of drugs and cleanliness. Doctors need to think about how a Hindu or a Jew perceives illness, and set it within a context they understand, rather than simply talking in terms of a particular diagnosis. and the importance of recognizing the individual’s spirituality can never be overstated.

So far, so good. Interesting, but not perhaps wholly surprising. Yet what all the authors argue for is a highly individualized approach to patients that makes much of modern medicine look distinctly poor quality the mass approach of much modern care, with a clinical team providing care to a whole cohort of patients, sits decidedly uncomfortably with an approach that seeks to understand how the patient views his or her own illness, what illness means to them, and how their own tradition views medicine and the saving of life. a Jew is brought up to believe that one must do everything in one’s power to save life; one’s own as well as others’. a Hindu takes a different view, meanwhile seeing psychosis in very different terms from Jews, Christians and Muslims. We need to understand how the different faiths view suffering, how they understand pain, how they approach mental distress, and what they have to say to those whose prognosis is one of an early death. Yet our health services prefer to produce protocols telling staff how patients with particular conditions should be treated, rather than how people of different backgrounds and views should helped.

This volume is timely, and impressive. Indirectly, it is asking those who run our National Health Service, and other health services around . . .

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