Dr. Daniel Sulmasy must really like to study. He went to medical school, has a doctorate in philosophy and is a Franciscan friar.
Yesterday, I interviewed Sulmasy, director of the Bioethics Institute at New York Medical College in Valhalla, about a very interesting recent achievement of his. He got the journal of the American Medical Association to publish an article about religion. God’s in it. Miracles. Prayer. All that stuff.
Medical journals normally deal with diseases and treatments, not the spiritual needs of patients. But Sulmasy’s article made the case that doctors should, at times, talk to patients about their religious beliefs.
I’ll write next week about Sulmasy’s work and his journal article. But I wanted to share one tidbit now. In his article, he cited a study that showed that 77 percent of patients want physicians to consider their spiritual needs — and 48 percent of patients want their doctors to pray with them.
Pray with them?
I asked Sulmasy, based on his experience with doctors, how many would feel comfortable praying with their patients. His guess: “In the South, maybe 25 percent. In the New York area, less than 1 percent.”