...and the Dumbing Continues

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Kanastrous
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...and the Dumbing Continues

Post by Kanastrous »

CHICAGO - When it comes to saving lives, God trumps doctors for many Americans.

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.

When asked to imagine their own relatives being gravely ill or injured, nearly 20 percent of doctors and other medical workers said God could reverse a hopeless outcome.

"Sensitivity to this belief will promote development of a trusting relationship" with patients and their families, according to researchers. That trust, they said, is needed to help doctors explain objective, overwhelming scientific evidence showing that continued treatment would be worthless.

Pat Loder, a Milford, Mich., woman whose two young children were killed in a 1991 car crash, said she clung to a belief that God would intervene when things looked hopeless.

"When you're a parent and you're standing over the body of your child who you think is dying ... you have to have that" belief, Loder said.

While doctors should be prepared to deal with those beliefs, they also shouldn't "sugarcoat" the truth about a patient's condition, Loder said.

Being honest in a sensitive way helps family members make excruciating decisions about whether to let dying patients linger, or allow doctors to turn off life-prolonging equipment so that organs can be donated, Loder said.

Loder was driving when a speeding motorcycle slammed into the family's car. Both children were rushed unconscious to hospitals, and Loder says she believes doctors did everything they could. They were not able to revive her 5-year-old son; soon after her 8-year-old daughter was declared brain dead.

She said her beliefs about divine intervention have changed.

"I have become more of a realist," she said. "I know that none of us are immune from anything."

Loder was not involved in the survey, which appears in Monday's Archives of Surgery.

It involved 1,000 U.S. adults randomly selected to answer questions by telephone about their views on end-of-life medical care. They were surveyed in 2005, along with 774 doctors, nurses and other medical workers who responded to mailed questions.

Survey questions mostly dealt with untimely deaths from trauma such as accidents and violence. These deaths are often particularly tough on relatives because they are more unexpected than deaths from lingering illnesses such as cancer, and the patients tend to be younger.

Dr. Lenworth Jacobs, a University of Connecticut surgery professor and trauma chief at Hartford Hospital, was the lead author.

He said trauma treatment advances have allowed patients who previously would have died at the scene to survive longer. That shift means hospital trauma specialists "are much more heavily engaged in the death process," he said.

Jacobs said he frequently meets people who think God will save their dying loved one and who want medical procedures to continue.

"You can't say, 'That's nonsense.' You have to respect that" and try to show them X-rays, CAT scans and other medical evidence indicating death is imminent, he said.

Relatives need to know that "it's not that you don't want a miracle to happen, it's just that is not going to happen today with this patient," he said.

Families occasionally persist and hospitals have gone to court seeking to stop medical treatment doctors believe is futile, but such cases are quite rare.

Dr. Michael Sise, trauma medical director at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, called the study "a great contribution" to one of the most intense issues doctors face.

Sise, a Catholic doctor working in a Catholic hospital, said miracles don't happen when medical evidence shows death is near.

"That's just not a realistic situation," he said.

Sise recalled a teenager severely injured in a gang beating who died soon afterward at his hospital.

The mother "absolutely did not want to withdraw" medical equipment despite the severity of her child's brain injuries, which ensured she would never wake up, Sise said. "The mom was playing religious tapes in the room, and obviously was very focused on looking for a miracle."

Claudia McCormick, a nurse and trauma program director at Duke University Hospital, said she also has never seen that kind of miracle. But her niece's recovery after being hit by a boat while inner-tubing earlier this year came close.

The boat backed into her and its propeller "caught her in the side of the head. She had no pulse when they pulled her out of the water," McCormick said.

Doctors at the hospital where she was airlifted said "it really doesn't look good." And while it never reached the point where withdrawing lifesaving equipment was discussed, McCormick recalled one of her doctors saying later: '"God has plans for this child. I never thought she'd be here.'"

Like many hospitals, Duke uses a team approach to help relatives deal with dying trauma victims, enlisting social workers, grief counselors and chaplains to work with doctors and nurses.

If the family still says, "We just can't shut that machine off, then, you know what, we can't shut that machine off," McCormick said.

"Sometimes," she said, "you might have a family that's having a hard time and it might take another day, and that's OK."

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26272687/


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Half of my fellow Americans believe that prayer trumps medicine.

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Post by Androsphinx »

Considering that 80+% of Americans believe in God, I think that this counts as progress of a sort.

The real question is what the 25% or so who don't believe that prayer can heal are thinking!
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Post by CaptainChewbacca »

I wouldn't interpret that as '57% of Americans believe prayer trumps science', but rather '57% of Americans, when faced with the death of a loved one, will cling to faith'.

Which isn't, you know, a terrible thing to do. Its irrational, sure, but I doubt I'd be rational if my parents were on life support. These folks need to realize, though, that if God was going to miraculously heal their kid, he'd do it. He's not waiting until you've been faithful/dutiful/prayed enough, because you can't 'buy' miracles.
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Post by Master of Ossus »

You've got to be kidding me.
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Post by Androsphinx »

CaptainChewbacca wrote:I wouldn't interpret that as '57% of Americans believe prayer trumps science', but rather '57% of Americans, when faced with the death of a loved one, will cling to faith'.

Which isn't, you know, a terrible thing to do. Its irrational, sure, but I doubt I'd be rational if my parents were on life support. These folks need to realize, though, that if God was going to miraculously heal their kid, he'd do it. He's not waiting until you've been faithful/dutiful/prayed enough, because you can't 'buy' miracles.
The poll wasn't of people whose relatives were dying, but a random sample of people who you'd hope would be rational in their day-to-day lives

The problem is that the article is rather poorly written - it jumps from the survey of 1000 random adults to a random, unrelated interview, to a parallel survey of doctors and nurses, and then straight to anecdotes about dying people.
"what huge and loathsome abnormality was the Sphinx originally carven to represent? Accursed is the sight, be it in dream or not, that revealed to me the supreme horror - the Unknown God of the Dead, which licks its colossal chops in the unsuspected abyss, fed hideous morsels by soulless absurdities that should not exist" - Harry Houdini "Under the Pyramids"

"The goal of science is to substitute facts for appearances and demonstrations for impressions" - John Ruskin, "Stones of Venice"
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Post by CaptainChewbacca »

Androsphinx wrote:
CaptainChewbacca wrote:I wouldn't interpret that as '57% of Americans believe prayer trumps science', but rather '57% of Americans, when faced with the death of a loved one, will cling to faith'.

Which isn't, you know, a terrible thing to do. Its irrational, sure, but I doubt I'd be rational if my parents were on life support. These folks need to realize, though, that if God was going to miraculously heal their kid, he'd do it. He's not waiting until you've been faithful/dutiful/prayed enough, because you can't 'buy' miracles.
The poll wasn't of people whose relatives were dying, but a random sample of people who you'd hope would be rational in their day-to-day lives

The problem is that the article is rather poorly written - it jumps from the survey of 1000 random adults to a random, unrelated interview, to a parallel survey of doctors and nurses, and then straight to anecdotes about dying people.
My mistake. The jumping nature of the article led me to misunderstand what the poll was.
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Post by FSTargetDrone »

CaptainChewbacca wrote:Which isn't, you know, a terrible thing to do. Its irrational, sure, but I doubt I'd be rational if my parents were on life support. These folks need to realize, though, that if God was going to miraculously heal their kid, he'd do it. He's not waiting until you've been faithful/dutiful/prayed enough, because you can't 'buy' miracles.
If God is going intervene, why bother healing the gravely ill or raising the dead, doing something miraculous after the fact? Where is the divine intervention that prevents the injury from occurring at all?

These people remind me of when someone thanks God for saving someone who's been in an accident where others die (especially children). Where was God for those other people?
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Post by Kanastrous »

FSTargetDrone wrote:
These people remind me of when someone thanks God for saving someone who's been in an accident where others die (especially children). Where was God for those other people?
This is where the pod-people usually say something like I don't know; you'll have to ask God.
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Post by Hawkwings »

We need to find a way to make money off these people. Seriously, this could be the biggest haul ever.
Vendetta wrote:Richard Gatling was a pioneer in US national healthcare. On discovering that most soldiers during the American Civil War were dying of disease rather than gunshots, he turned his mind to, rather than providing better sanitary conditions and medical care for troops, creating a machine to make sure they got shot faster.
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Post by FSTargetDrone »

Kanastrous wrote:This is where the pod-people usually say something like I don't know; you'll have to ask God.
Well, I have many, many questions for him. :)
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Post by Kanastrous »

I don't know about questions.

I mostly have grievances.
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Post by CmdrWilkens »

Hawkwings wrote:We need to find a way to make money off these people. Seriously, this could be the biggest haul ever.
Somebody already figured it out and they call it Televangelism.
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Post by chitoryu12 »

Kanastrous wrote:I don't know about questions.

I mostly have grievances.
Which would, if the Bible is proof of anything, would likely lead to him going through a long monologue that doesn't answer anything and then banishing you to Hell.
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Post by Invictus ChiKen »

Hawkwings wrote:We need to find a way to make money off these people. Seriously, this could be the biggest haul ever.
Try writing a series of books. Hey it worked with Left Behind!
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Post by Twoyboy »

Kanastrous wrote:I don't know about questions.

I mostly have grievances.
And you're probably not alone. I always liked God's final message to his creation in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: We apologise for the inconvenience. :D

On topic, I don't find this result surprising since the vast majority of the country believes in a omnipotent, omnibenevolent God. He should be able to and willing to heal and resurrect people. I'm with Androsphinx in wondering what the Christians believe who don't believe that their almighty God can do better than a doctor? Perhaps someone on this forum can enlighten me.
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Post by Sidewinder »

It's damn depressing when otherwise intelligent people believe in bullshit like faith healing. Even worse when one of these people is a close relative.

For example, my father, a former officer in the Republic of China (Taiwanese) Army, an acupuncturist and an herbal medicines specialist, routinely buys into conspiracy theories against western medical practitioners and practices, e.g., that the American Medical Association is suppressing Royal Rife's revolutionary cancer cure in order to continue scamming cancer patients of thousands of dollars in chemo/radiotherapy, or that my psychologist (an employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs, whose services I receive for free) is secretly withholding more effective treatments so I will continue to be her patient, and she will continue to have a job. My father has encouraged me to stop taking psychiatric medication, and to lie to my psychiatrist (another VA employee) when he asks if I've followed his prescription, so I wouldn't be declared "uncooperative" and be involuntarily hospitalized again (I didn't listen to my father on that point).

I'm fairly certain some of his patients (who told him of the "conspiracy" against Royal Rife) are Scientologists. My father had experiences with dishonest and incompetent doctors, but for him to dismiss ALL practitioners of "western" medicine on these basises is like the manager of a nuclear powerplant who, after TWO guys used phony physics degrees to get a job there and almost caused a meltdown, decides that ALL PhDs presented to him by job-seeking engineers who are phony, and that he (the manager) can do a better job than all of those PhD-holding engineers.
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Post by Darth Wong »

The majority of people are stupid. It's hardly a surprise that the majority of people would believe in stupid shit and not be able to see what's wrong with it. That's not even accounting for intelligent people who are driven by emotion and refuse to subject it to critical analysis; most people don't even have the mental skills to perform such analysis.

Even in countries where most people accept evolution, the majority tend to do so just because they've been raised to have a greater respect for science (and for scientists), not because they've actually learned how the scientific method works and how to critically analyze things. It's only slightly better than respect for religious figures, in the sense that scientists have practical results to show for their ideology, whereas religious figures do not.
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Post by Buddha »

In a time of crisis many people try to deal with the problem with faith. They think that it has an effect if they have faith. They don't want to look at reality and can't do anything themselves.
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Post by ray245 »

Why can't people leave religion only to matters in regards to what happens after you die ( depending on your belief) , as compared to what you do in life?


Just leaving religion towards the idea of afterlife ALONE, and nothing else in life is a much better thing...as compared to it putting restriction on what can be done in life.
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Post by Sea Skimmer »

I don’t see anything wrong or stupid with holding out hope that god or whatever suits you’re fancy might save someone you love when modern medical science is telling you it can’t do anything. It sure beats just giving up hope; and doctors aren’t always right. It might not be a ‘real’ miracle but people DO sometimes survive conditions doctors said would kill them.
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Post by salm »

I guess in a country where health care is as shitty as in the US you will just have learn to rely on cheaper methods than real medicine.
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Post by Steel »

Sea Skimmer wrote:I don’t see anything wrong or stupid with holding out hope that god or whatever suits you’re fancy might save someone you love when modern medical science is telling you it can’t do anything. It sure beats just giving up hope; and doctors aren’t always right. It might not be a ‘real’ miracle but people DO sometimes survive conditions doctors said would kill them.
But then it says that because of this irrational belief 3/4 of those people would then go on to demand treatment, potentially denying that treatment to someone it could actually help.

What surprised me was that such a large proportion of those who thought god would heal their family member wanted treatment, meaning that either they were too stupid to think that god could heal them at any time regardless of physical state if he were to do it at all, or that they thought they could use it as leverage to make treatment more likely. However the latter would be giving far too many faithful far too much credit.
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Post by Lagmonster »

There's an oft-repeated phrase that secular types say about fundies: They don't actually believe their own bullshit. Each of these people lying in a hospital bed waiting for god to majestically heal their injuries have one thing in common: They turned to medical science first. If you honestly believed that a miracle was going to save you, you wouldn't leave your house. If I thought I knew anything about psychology, I'd say that praying for a miracle after the doctor tells you it's over is just part of the denial phase of grief.
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Post by PainRack »

Steel wrote: But then it says that because of this irrational belief 3/4 of those people would then go on to demand treatment, potentially denying that treatment to someone it could actually help.

What surprised me was that such a large proportion of those who thought god would heal their family member wanted treatment, meaning that either they were too stupid to think that god could heal them at any time regardless of physical state if he were to do it at all, or that they thought they could use it as leverage to make treatment more likely. However the latter would be giving far too many faithful far too much credit.
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Rephrased, the survey is simply saying that people are willing to go against evidence and believe in impossible odds, that "something" would happen that would make playing against the odds possible.
We already see this kind of behaviour with gamblers. What's the difference?
So, if doctors say there is no hope, people believe you should STILL treat anyway because a miracle might happen. That's hoping for a miracle, not believing that god >>>> medical science.
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Post by General Zod »

PainRack wrote: God help those who help themselves.
Rephrased, the survey is simply saying that people are willing to go against evidence and believe in impossible odds, that "something" would happen that would make playing against the odds possible.
We already see this kind of behaviour with gamblers. What's the difference?
So, if doctors say there is no hope, people believe you should STILL treat anyway because a miracle might happen. That's hoping for a miracle, not believing that god >>>> medical science.
Semantic nonsense. Nobody talks about miracles happening who isn't blatantly talking about religion as well.
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