Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Primary care physicians nationwide face clinical ethical conflicts with religious hospitals

Date:
April 9, 2010
Source:
University of Chicago Medical Center
Summary:
Nearly 1 in 10 primary care physicians has experienced a conflict with a religiously-affiliated hospital or practice over religious policies for patient care. Most feel that when clinical judgment conflicts with religious hospital policy, physicians should refer patients to another institution.

Nearly one in ten primary care physicians in the United States has experienced a conflict with a religiously-affiliated hospital or practice over religious policies for patient care, researchers from the University of Chicago report in a paper published early online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Younger and less religious physicians are more likely to experience these conflicts than their older or more religious peers. Most primary care physicians feel that when clinical judgment conflicts with religious hospital policy, physicians should refer patients to another institution.

"Religious hospitals represent nearly 20 percent of our health care system," said study author Debra Stulberg, MD, instructor of family medicine and of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Chicago. "Yet we know little about how religious policy affects the care doctors give to patients. This study is the first to systematically ask physicians whether religious hospital policies conflict with their judgment. We found that for a significant number of physicians, they do."

The study surveyed a representative sample of U.S. family physicians, general internists and general practitioners in 2007. Physicians were asked whether they had worked in a religiously-affiliated hospital or practice, if so, whether they had ever faced a conflict with the hospital or practice over religious policies for patient care, and what a physician ought to do if a patient should need a medical intervention and the hospital in which the physician works prohibits that intervention because of its religious affiliation.

Responses showed that 43 percent of primary care physicians have practiced in a religiously-affiliated setting. Of these, 19 percent experienced conflict with religious policies.

Ninety-six percent of all primary care physicians believe physicians should adhere to hospital policy. Eighty-five percent of physicians thought a doctor facing conflict with religious policies should refer the patient to another hospital. Ten percent endorsed recommending an alternate treatment that is not prohibited by the religious hospital.

"Primary care physicians routinely see patients facing reproductive health or end-of-life decisions that may be restricted in religious health care institutions, so we were not surprised to learn that nearly one in five of the physicians who have worked in a religious setting have faced a conflict with their hospital," Stulberg said.

The authors worried that it could be more difficult for physicians practicing in underserved communities to refer patients, when appropriate, to non-religious institutions, especially for time-sensitive but restricted interventions, such as emergency contraception. Whether such delays could be harmful, they note, "depends on one's beliefs about the intervention itself."

"We found that the physicians who work in religious hospitals and practices are a diverse group, from a wide range of religious and personal backgrounds," she added, "so hospitals sponsored by a specific religious denomination have providers who may not share their beliefs."

The Greenwall Foundation and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine funded this story. Additional authors include Ryan Lawrence and Farr Curlin of the University of Chicago and Jason Shattuck of Michigan State.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Medical Center. "Primary care physicians nationwide face clinical ethical conflicts with religious hospitals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100409131417.htm>.
University of Chicago Medical Center. (2010, April 9). Primary care physicians nationwide face clinical ethical conflicts with religious hospitals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100409131417.htm
University of Chicago Medical Center. "Primary care physicians nationwide face clinical ethical conflicts with religious hospitals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100409131417.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins