Thursday, August 11, 2005

"Many US doctors believe that the religious convictions of their patients should outweigh their own professional advice..."

Religion can trump medical advice, docs say

By Charnicia E. Huggins Wed Aug 10,11:46 AM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Many US doctors believe that the religious convictions of their patients should outweigh their own professional advice when it comes to making certain medical decisions. When the patient is a child, however, a large majority of doctors say that they, and not the child's guardian, should have the final say, regardless of the guardian's religious beliefs.

These findings and others come from a survey of 794 physicians nationwide who answered various questions about religion and its effect on healthcare in the United States in an August poll.

Overall, 23 percent of physicians said that religion has a negative effect on healthcare in the United States, 30 percent said it has a negligible effect, and 47 percent said that religion has a positive effect on healthcare.

When asked how religion most affects healthcare, more than two-thirds of respondents said it's through patients' personal decisions, and a quarter of the group said it affects healthcare through political action. Only a few - seven percent -- said that religion most affected healthcare through its influence on physicians.

"Something's happening in the power relationship between physicians and patients," according to Dr. Arthur J. Kover, a management fellow at Yale University's School of Management and a consultant with HCD Research, the New Jersey-based market research company that conducted the poll.

"Until recently the power was in the hands of physicians... (but) the balance of power has been shifting," he told Reuters Health.

The reasons for this shift may be multifaceted but Kover, also a sociologist, said it is partly due to direct-to-consumer drug advertising and consumers' religious beliefs. He says both are helping to move some of the power away from doctors and into the hands of consumers.

More than half (57 percent) of the physicians surveyed said that a patient's religious reason for a medical course of action should trump a doctor's treatment advice. In contrast, the other 43 percent said it should not.

When it comes to making healthcare decisions for children, however, nearly 84 percent of doctors agreed that a physician's medical decision should not be overridden by the religious beliefs of a child's guardian.

The respondents were almost evenly divided about whether saving a person's life justifies violating their religious beliefs, with 51 percent saying that saving a person's life does not justify that religious violation.

Fifty-five percent of physicians surveyed said they were not concerned about the influence of religion on healthcare in this country, however. This may be explained by the finding that over two-thirds of doctors said a patient's religious beliefs "infrequently" or "rarely, perhaps never" interfered with his or her health, while 30 percent of doctors said that a patient's religious beliefs often or occasionally interfered.

In other findings, when asked which particular religion has the most beneficial or harmful effect on healthcare, more than 50 percent of physicians said that "no religion has a more beneficial effect than any other" and slightly more than 25 percent said "no religion has a more harmful effect than any other."



Bonus: Ann Coulter, damn she's good...

Frontpage Interview: Ann Coulter
By Jamie Glazov | January 12, 2004

Frontpage Magazine: Hi Ms. Coulter, welcome to Frontpage Interview. We really appreciate you taking the time out of your schedule to chat with us.

Ann Coulter: My pleasure Jamie.

FP: Saddam's capture is still, naturally, the big news. What do you think about it? Tell us how you found out and what your reaction was.

AC: Well, when the story first broke I had the TV on with the sound off. I saw the footage of that filthy, hairy, unshaven creature looking dazed and out of it and I thought: "My God, they've arrested Nick Nolte again!"

FP: Um, ok. . . well, were you happy when you realized it wasn't Nolte but Saddam himself?

AC: I had mixed feelings about it - sort of a combination of unbridled joy and hysterical elation. Pity it wasn't a week or so earlier, though. Hussein might have made the cut as one of Barbara Walters' "10 most fascinating people of 2003."

FP: And what do you think are the implications and significance of us succeeding in capturing this scoundrel?

AC: It's really no more significant than the arrest of, say, Adolf Hitler would have been in 1945. It's great because it's separated the Democratic Party into two distinct camps: Your garden-variety losers and your genuine nut-bar conspiracy theorists like Madeline Albright.

FP: I think you are right about the state of the Democratic Party. They don't have a prayer in hell to beat Bush in 2004, right?

AC: If they have a prayer, it will be answered by someone whose kingdom is not heaven.

FP: Let's talk about your latest book, Treason. It caused quite a stir. You were certainly right to attack liberals on many fronts. But what do you say to those Conservatives who argue that you went overboard by defending McCarthy and that you should have also pointed out that many liberals, especially during the Cold War, like Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy, were solid anti-communists and patriotic Americans? What do you say to those who charge that you undermined your case with these arguments?

AC: I'm still waiting for my detractors (of any stripe) to identify the inaccuracies in my book that would lead them to conclude that I went "overboard." However, I am no longer holding my breath.

JFK, as I note in my book, was -- in theory -- as ferocious an anti-communist as the great Joe McCarthy. But Kennedy was a Democrat and thus an utter incompetent when it came to execution. (Johnson is not your strongest case. He had all of JFK's incompetence without the good heart.)

To summarize a subject explored in lascivious detail in my book: JFK refused to provide air cover for the Cubans at the Bay of Pigs leading to their slaughter and imprisonment -- and to the Cuban missile crisis. He started the Vietnam war but would not fight to win. Democrats love taking the nation to war, they just have a phobia about winning. As a consequence, the world's greatest Super Power seems to get involved in "unwinnable wars" only when a Democrat is president.

I'm not a psycho-biographer. I'll leave it to others to explore why even those Democrats who appear to be genuinely patriotic - and we don't see so many of those anymore - still manage to screw up foreign policy every bit as much as Howard Dean would. (I would imagine their deeply-felt need for approval from the French would figure into any psychological profile.) Besides JFK, I believe the only other Democratic presidential candidates in the past half century anyone would dare cite as hawks on national defense are Scoop Jackson and Joe Lieberman. You can see how well they fared within their own Party. What is one to say about a Party like that?

FP: Let's move on to discuss your own personal background. Tell us, what influenced you to become a Conservative? Were there some people or events that molded your views in your childhood, youth, etc?

AC: There was an absence of the sort of trauma that would deprive me of normal, instinctual reactions to things. I had happily married parents, a warm and loving family, and a happy childhood with lots of friends. Thus, there were no neurotic incidents to turn me into a liberal.

FP: No neurotic incidents to turn you into a liberal? Would you, then, argue that leftism/liberalism is ultimately, in most cases, the depersonalization and politicization of personal neuroses?

AC: Pause for a moment to consider the probable mental state of Howard Dean and then ask me that question again. Yes, of course liberalism is a mental defect. Liberals are wracked by self-loathing as the result of some traumatic incident -- say, driving drunk off a bridge with your mistress passed out in the back seat and letting the poor girl drown because you're a married man and a U.S. senator, just to take one utterly random, hypothetical example off the top of my head.

FP: I'm not even gonna bother playing the devil's advocate on this one -- it's a losing battle. So speaking of the Left, what do you think its behavior during Iraq's liberation revealed about it?

AC: I don't think there was much left to reveal.

FP: Ok, let's get back to your intellectual journey: what led to your interest in law?

AC: Inertia.

FP: Did the study of law influence your political views?

AC: No. I do hate trial lawyers, but then again I hated them before I began the study of law.

FP: Why do you hate trial lawyers? And if you don't mind, could you name a few prominent ones that you are not extremely fond of?

AC: You mean besides John Edwards?

Before I answer that question I'll need you to initial this waiver here, here, and here, and then sign it here at the bottom and have it notarized. I'll also need you to post a small cash bond so as to indemnify me against any legal action which might result from my response. Thanks.

Everything you do -- from driving to earning a living to making a cup of coffee to owning a home to getting medical care -- is more expensive and difficult simply because of trial lawyers, who, at the same time, contribute absolutely nothing of any value to society. You can't buy as simple a device as a telephone without having to wade through a 50-page manual to locate information you actually need, like what your new security code is. (How about adding a one-page short list of instructions for consumers who already know not to place their phones in a microwave oven?) But other than the fact that trial lawyers have made every single facet of life worse, I can't think of a single good reason to dislike them.

FP: What is it that you would say inspires you?

AC: Love of God and country.

FP: Why do you think you do what you do?

AC: Love of God and country (and it's a great gig).

FP: If you wouldn't mind, I'd like to talk a little bit about your September 13, 2001 column over at National Review and your subsequent departure from that magazine. Could you tell us a bit about what you think happened? What does it say about the contemporary nature of "conservative" journalism?

AC: In this one instance, the idiot Clintonheads are worth quoting: Let's move on. (I note that the incident did lead to my syndicated column being picked up by the great David Horowitz at!)

FP: Ok. Let's move on, then, to your personal views on some subjects. Tell us a few figures that you admire in the 20th century. That you despise?

AC: Admire: Joe McCarthy, Ronald Reagan, J Edgar Hoover, Winston Churchill and the YOUNG Richard Nixon.

As for the other category, perhaps "detest" is not the right word. Just this once, I would borrow from Madeline Albright to say these are my "people of concern": Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, David Hackett Souter, Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsberg and John Paul Stevens.

FP: Ms. Coulter, I completely agree with you on Ronald Reagan but, with all due respect, how could you possibly admire Joe McCarthy? He was a hideous character. I don't think you can find many individuals more anti-communist than myself, but I detest McCarthy for how he discredited anti-communism. I can't think of anyone else in America that did so much damage to the anti-communist cause. What exactly do you see in McCarthy? Yes, he fought the right enemy, but the way that he fought it was extremely counter-productive. He armed our liberal enemies with powerful ammunition against us. What is your thinking here?

AC: I notice that you have just reeled off a slew of insults without a bare hint of a fact. And for good reason -- actually for no good reason. You're interviewing me, you should have read my book. Until Treason, that's all it ever was with McCarthy. Portraits of Kathy Boudin, Che Guevara, Ted Bundy, and Joe Stalin are more nuanced than portraits of McCarthy. He is the only person in history for whom, apparently, there is absolutely nothing good that we can say. No nuance, no good side -- just invective, fake facts, myth, and anger. It's amazing that guy ever got elected to anything! I wrote my book, I made my case, and people decided not to argue with me on the merits. So now I guess we're back to fact-free invective against McCarthy. When you start to sound like Molly Ivins talking about George Bush, you might want to entertain the possibility that you are a few tweaks away from the dispassionate truth.

FP: I would never disagree that McCarthy has been demonized to the ultimate degree in a very absurd manner, especially in proportion to the real villains of our times. I am just wary of seeing him as some kind of hero, especially since he did a lot of damage to anti-communism.

In any case, let's save it for a future debate. Tell us, what is your favorite book?

AC: Apart from the Holy Bible, I don't have a favorite. But among the books I am especially fond of are:

Witness by Whittaker Chambers,

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis,

Modern Times by Paul Johnson,

The Bell Curve by Charles Murray and Richard Hernstein,

Radical Son by David Horowitz,

Hustler by Joe Sobran,

Takings by Richard Epstein,

Economic Analysis of the Law by Richard Posner,

Brain Storm by Richard Dooling,

Anna Karenina, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, anything by Dave Barry, and almost any true crime story about a serial killer.

FP: Very interesting. And what three books do you consider essential reading?

AC: The Old Testament, the New Testament, and Treason.

FP: Goodness. . .your book right after the Bible? Sounds about right to me I guess.

Let's move to the War on Terror. If President Bush called you today and asked you for your advice on the next moves he should take in our battle with militant Islam, what would you advise?

AC: Fire U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta. Keep excluding the New York Times from all exclusive press briefings.

FP: Could you kindly briefly highlight the reasons why you want Mineta fired? Is it mostly for his failure to implement tough "profiling" at airports after 9/11?

AC: Take out the word "mostly" and you're getting warm.

FP: What do you think about the idea of American President Ann Coulter? Have you ever considered this?

AC: I like the ring of it, but no.

FP: Hypothetically, if you did become president, what are two or three things you would immediately pursue?

AC: 1) Fire Norman Mineta.

2) Pack the Supreme Court.

3) Demand that Congress present me with a bill eliminating the withholding tax. Apart from killing terrorists, there is no more important political issue. People need to pay taxes in one lump sum every year in order to fully appreciate all those wonderful services the government provides.

FP: And where would you appoint this interviewer in your administration?

AC: You would be put on retainer with the assignment of eliminating the withholding tax. If you succeeded, something more permanent might be arranged.

FP: I am very grateful for this honor you would bestow on me.

In any case, we are running out of time, so let me ask you this question to end the interview:

If you were asked to give a report card on President Bush's performance as our leader overall, and this involved a letter grade and short comment, what would you say?

AC: War on Terrorism: A-. His perfect grade was reduced on account of the continuing presence of Norman Mineta.

War on Democrats: B-. Problem areas: creating enormous new government entitlement programs, placing limits on political speech per the campaign finance reform bill, delivering an annual Kwanzaa message in honor of a phony holiday no one celebrates except white public school teachers, and the continuing presence of Norman Mineta.

FP: I don't think you have left any ambiguity for our readers about how you feel regarding Noman Mineta. Well, we are done. Thank you Ms. Coulter, it was an honor to speak with you - and also very enjoyable. I hope you will come back to join us again.

AC: Thank you Jamie, I would love to. Perhaps we can have a drink together at Norman Mineta's retirement party.


I welcome all of our readers to get in touch with me if they have a good idea/contact for a guest for Frontpage Interview. Email me at



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great blog I hope we can work to build a better health care system. Health insurance is a major aspect to many.

8:49 PM  

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