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Treating whole person is the way forward

Dr Annette Steele (Letters, October 13) seemed to be making some rather harsh and unfair presumptions about Dr Robert Hardie's pro-life Christian practice in suggesting patients would be 'subjected to a no-choice practice' and 'receive non-evidence-based religious medicine'.

In my experience, patients with unwanted pregnancies can equally receive 'prejudiced' and 'no-choice' advice from pro-abortion doctors, who frequently fail to adequately discuss options and alternatives, or consider the 'rights' of the fetus.

In addition, I have read a number of reports this year of objective, controlled clinical studies showing the benefits of prayer and religious faith in speeding recovery from surgery and depression ­ this is 'evidence-based'.

Surely we have progressed from the days when patients were treated as bodies with diseases to a more holistic view of people, which will include considering emotional, psychological and spiritual factors.

Patients invariably are grateful to be treated by doctors as whole people, acknowledging these other factors and needs. I have seen a number of cases where, when spiritual needs are met, physical symptoms disappear.

Dr Fiona Underhill

Woodford Green


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