Thursday, December 1, 2005

Palliative care for Muslims

The J of Supportive Oncology has published a piece overviewing palliative care for Muslim patients (unfortunately there is no abstract & the article is not yet indexed in PubMed; here is the table of contents for the issue; per the website free full-text will be available January 2006; the print version of the journal is available free to anyone in the field in the US).  A Muslim colleague of mine alerted me to the article & vetted it--he thought it was spot on.  It overviews the meaning of suffering in Islam, medical ethics in Islam, and particular issues in Islam at the end of life (modesty, sedating medications, prayer & other rituals).  What my colleague thought was most difficult for many Muslim patients in the West were two things: 1) the importance of Salah, the 5 daily prayers, and the difficulties patients encounter when they are ill--both with physically performing the prayers as well as having their need to pray accomodated by the health care system, & 2) modesty (by Muslim women especially) which results in less eye contact and genial interaction between patient and doctor which is often mistaken for lack of interest or engagement.  Both of these issues are discussed at length in the article.  For those of you who followed the Lancet end-of-life-by-world-religion series, I found this article much more informative that the Lancet one.

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