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Spirituality and Medicine A Proposal - Kemal Sayar

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Spirituality and Medicine A Proposal

Lodovico Balducci, MD, and Russell Meyer, MDiv

Dissatisfaction with medical care has increased among patients and providers, despite unprecedented medical successes.[1-3] This paradox may be caused by a number of possible reasons, including a higher degree of patient education, improved access to information, criticism of the profession by the media, emergence of alternative forms of medicine that make unrealistic promises, increased cost of care, fragmentation of care into specialties and subspecialties, and divestment of primary care of its original role of patient advocacy.

We suggest a more basic cause for the growing dissatisfaction with medical care. We contend that underlying the discontentment of patients and providers is an enlarging cultural rift that manifests as distrust and closer scrutiny of each other, cavalier practice of the criticism at personal and societal levels, personal isolation, the dissolution of traditional social structures such as the family, and an inability to work together toward a common goal.[4] Not surprisingly, the effects of these social changes are first experienced in critical situations such as disease, illness, and death. Thus, it is reasonable to consider the practice of medicine as a model to study both the causes and the solutions of social problems in evolution. We identify the loss of a common scope -- and with this the loss of a common language -- as the basis of the present cultural rift. We believe this loss has been caused by the failure to acknowledge the role of spirituality in human relationships. In this perspective, spirituality is the connective tissue that allows coordinated and meaningful activities by human beings.

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