Religion in Medicine: Volume 1

John B. Dawson

Publisher: Xlibris Pages: 211 Price: (paperback) $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-4653-6830-0 Reviewed: January, 2019 Author Website: Visit »

Although America is one of the most religious countries in the world, it is also one of the most religiously illiterate. Looking to remedy this lack of understanding, especially for physicians and their staff, author John B. Dawson offers a book outlining the basic tenets of belief for a number of religions. His hope: to increase understanding and sensitivity between medical professionals and their patients. As the author writes, “Active acknowledgments of the religion of a devout patient is of great importance in the doctor-patient relationship, in the arranging of medical therapies, and in the discussion of case history detail.”

Admitting that at one time, he was “uninformed and clumsy in matters religious,” the author begins his volume with a short overview of the history of medicine, the Hippocratic Oath, the development of the Bible, and the importance of Jesus in Christianity, before exploring different religions. Dawson examines the history and beliefs of Jews, Seventh Day Adventists, and Jehovah’s Witnesses, and spends considerable time discussing the beliefs of Catholics, especially in terms of restrictions concerning contraception, abortion, and artificial insemination. Knowing the intricacies of complex beliefs, the author contends, helps doctors approach treatment in a caring and respectful manner.

A physician himself for many decades, Dawson writes with authority, compassion, and in a thoughtful, gentlemanly manner. His appreciation of religion as well as his desire to help readers, medical personnel, and patients value each other is honorable and earnest. Moreover, his combination of information and practical application and examples makes for a winning formula.

Some of his sentences are a bit wordy and the inclusion of the actual Hippocratic Oath and the 95 Theses of Martin Luther could have been off-set typographically or offered in an appendix. But this is easy to overlook.

Overall, the book is a fine achievement and will prove valuable for physicians and their associates looking to improve their bedside manner when it comes to matters of faith.

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