Dealing with requests for faith healing treatment

Siddharth Sarkar, Hiramalini Seshadri

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2015.062


Faith healing practices are common in the Indian subcontinent, for remedying physical as well as psychiatric disorders. Patients and/ or their family members often resort to such treatment, especially when dissatisfied with the usual medical care or when the patient has a terminal illness. The application of the principles of medical ethics varies across cultures and time, and with the ethical principles to which a society subscribes. This write-up explores the various options available to healthcare professionals faced with patients and/or their family members who express a wish for faith healing services. The options discussed include outright rejection of faith healing practices, maintaining a distance or neutrality, endorsing such practices, and exploring the belief system of the patient and/or the family members. The various options are viewed from the lens of the principles of medical ethics.

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