The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    Meeting spiritual and religious needs of dying patients

    As dying patients adjust to the irreversible nature of their illness, their needs and focus of care change. Spiritual issues may become a central concern for them, and addressing these issues can be key to relieving suffering. Physicians, unfortunately, have little training in this area and are often uncomfortable discussing spirituality.

    Enter bioethicists Roberta and Erich Loewy.

    They have issues with the role of the hospital chaplain. In fact, they wonder why hospital chaplains have access to the hospital.

    Their concerns include the following.

    • The possibility (horror) that chaplains have an ulterior motive to convert dying people to religion rather than confine themselves to addressing their spiritual needs.
    • That, at this time when the end is near, chaplains are inappropriately intruding in the privacy of the patient’s medical records.
    • That chaplains are not “full-fledged” members of the medical team.

    For what it’s worth, prayer is important for most people. In fact, when it’s included in surveys, prayer is the most common CAM therapy.

    At the end of life I think it’s most important to consider the needs of the patient and not the abstract musings of two secular bioethisists.

    As stated by a couple of physicians who have taken the time to listen to their dying patients, “Understanding a patient’s spiritual core beliefs could greatly facilitate the doctor’s ability to honor the patient’s wishes for end-of-life care. Additionally, bearing witness to a patient’s faith is often a therapeutic act, whether or not the physician [or bioethisist] shares these beliefs.”

    3/20/07 23:35 JR

    Leave a Comment

    You must be logged in to post a comment.