I approach the holiday season with apprehension; it conjures up memories from my youth of disunity, abandonment and what seems like intractable melancholy and disappointment. King Solomon in the book of Proverbs, which is in the Ketuvim of the Hebrew Bible, states that “hope deferred makes the heart sick,” and merely writing these sentiments produces a visceral feeling of a sick, empty heart.
How can doctors-in-training incorporate wisdom from spiritual traditions into the delivery of health care? Rembrandt, a second-year medical student in Chicago, shares his exploration of how lessons from Christianity offer him insight into life’s big questions that arise in medicine.
While dancing on the line between church and state, the Supreme Court ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby’s decision to not fund contraceptives for its employees drew considerable media attention and controversy. Since the use of contraceptives opposes the religious beliefs of the company leaders, Hobby Lobby employees seeking access to contraceptives must pay for them out of pocket. To better understand the experience of faith that ultimately guided the Hobby Lobby company leaders and in order to “bridge the gap” between science and medicine on the topic of religion, it is important to explore the mechanisms by which widely used religious routines affect our brains.
Sometimes it is difficult to reconcile value systems that pull a person in opposite directions. Specifically in medicine, where the laws and nature of the work are so sensitive, yet also so important, it is within normal daily function to default to the ethics and American system of law. However, for Orthodox Jews, it is not that simple. Certain laws, such as the laws pertaining to the Sabbath, can make practicing medicine quite tricky.
How can doctors-in-training bring spiritual perspectives into their approach to medicine? Petra, a second-year medical student in Texas interested in family medicine, shares how living in Buddhist monasteries has influenced her relationships with fellow students and her experiences with the struggles of medical school.