Title

Patients' views about physicians' spiritual role in medical practice

Document Type

Article

Department

Family Medicine

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To study patient perceptions with regard to spirituality in medical practice.
DESIGN: A questionnaire-based survey.
PLACE AND DURATION OF STUDY: Family Practice Center of Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan, during July 2003.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Family practice patients were interviewed using a questionnaire which included data on demographic profile of the patient and perceptions on spirituality in medical practice. The study investigators administered the questionnaire without using systematic randomization. Ethical requirements including the administration of a written informed consent and the provision of confidentiality were ensured. SPSS computer software was used for data management.
RESULTS: One hundred patients were interviewed. A majority was married men, in the 20-40 years age group being of grade XII and above educational status. Ninety-two (92%) respondents believed in physicians having healing powers given by God, 78 (78%) felt that physicians should consider religious needs of the patient during treatment and 44 (44%) believed it is the competence of a physician that results in his/her healing ability. Thirty (30%) respondents sought treatment from faith healers and believed that medical care should include faith healing. Ninety-four(94%) respondents believed that praying and reciting the Quran helps in healing. Patient expectation that a physician be regular with regard to prayers, fasting, zakat donation and avoiding riba were reported by 91 (91%), 89 (89%),97 (97%) and 63 (63%) respondents respectively. The findings of the study are not representative and have no statistical reliability.
CONCLUSION: We have documented patient perceptions with regard to spirituality in medical practice. Such information has important implications for patient care and we strongly recommend further debate and research on the issue.

Publication

Journal of College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan