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ST Forum

ST Forum
November 27, 2007 Tuesday
Power of faith amazing but let patients decide

AFTER reading the letter, 'Community hospitals must not aid conversions' (ST, Nov 22), I am doubtful that the Ministry of Health holds the trump card.

I am a strong advocate of the following quote by Mahatma Gandhi: 'Religions are different roads converging to the same point. What does it matter that we take different roads as long as we reach the same goal? In reality, there are as many different religions as there are individuals.'

I believe in the power of faith based on religion. Whenever patients are suffering, I like to encourage them to get in touch with their faith. Recently, my mentor told me that his doctor in a public hospital suggested that they pray before his knee surgery, after learning that they shared the same faith - Christianity.

One will be amazed at the power that this gesture has in relieving a patient's suffering and anxiety.

While caregivers/doctors/voluntary workers do show genuine concern, it is best to follow the golden rule: 'Let the patients decide what is best for them.' Let us respect their wishes.

My mentor, a long-time hospice volunteer, related a touching story about a reverend's decision when asked to baptise a dying person by the latter's son.

The reverend gave the following explanation to the son when he did not baptise the dying person:

'To all the questions I asked, he replied 'yes'. He does not know what he is saying. I would rather he died believing in the faith of his forefathers.'

This is a gracious act. In the course of 'mapping God's love', one must practise humility and remember that the history of free men is never written by chance but by choice - their choice.

Lee Soh Hong (Miss)

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