Medicine and spirituality can go beyond life-saving heroics

Chaplains in hospitals are expected to talk of spiritual things but for clinical staff it is different. While a holistic approach to health care is much talked about, “spirituality remains a bit hazy; hard to find words for in a world dominated by scientific method”.

“Making meaning is seen as one of the important elements of spirituality,” writes Sande Ramage, which is not a problem at all for patients who recover, but finding meaning when there seems to be no cure “can leave patients and healthcare professionals alike feeling helpless”.

In order to cope with helplessness it’s possible to adopt a solely scientific approach to suffering, an approach that is challenged in a book called Time to Care, by Dr Robin Youngson. He says that beyond what medicine offers, ‘the most profound healing comes from a bond of shared humanity.’

Sande Ramage is an Anglican priest and blogger

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News category: Analysis and Comment.

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