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Comment & Response |

Spiritual Care Providers and Goals-of-Care Discussions

Nikhil Barot, MD1; Katherine Yu, MD1
[+] Author Affiliations
1Department of Medicine, Olive View – UCLA Medical Center, Sylmar, California
JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(2):278-279. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.7890.
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To the Editor The study by Ernecoff et al1 reveals a number of insights into the nature of family conferences in the intensive care unit (ICU). We laud their assessment of the religious preferences of the physician in charge of the family conference; however, it may have been more revelatory to ask the participating physicians not merely the broad question of whether religion was important to them but how important religion was in dealing with their own major life challenges as Curlin et al2 did in their historic evaluation of physician religiosity. In that study, physicians were twice as likely (61% vs 29%) to cope with major life challenges without God. This finding may partly explain the low likelihood of physicians probing surrogates’ religious concerns discovered in the study by Ernecoff et al.


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February 1, 2016
Natalie C. Ernecoff, MPH; Farr A. Curlin, MD; Douglas B. White, MD, MAS
1Department of Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2The Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities, and History of Medicine, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina3The Duke Divinity School, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(2):279. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.7893.
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