Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A prayer with your medical treatment?

Reading this story about a Christian nurse who offered to pray for a patient has left me torn.

According to the BBC, Caroline Petrie offered to pray for an elderly patient after visiting her at home and changing some dressings.  The patient was not offended, but contacted the local health trust because she felt that others could have been offended by Mrs Petrie's offer of a Christian prayer.  Mrs Petrie has been suspended pending an investigation.

The thing is, Mrs Petrie probably meant no offence.  She was offering her personal, spiritual aid to complement the medical aid she was giving.

However, she was employed for medical purposes only - to change the patient's dressings, not to offer spiritual succour.  And I know that if I was lying ill in hospital, for example, I would hate for someone to be praying over me.  Unless they were Pagan. Or a family member. Or a friend. 

Perhaps the problem is that it was unsolicited prayer from a stranger, with no thought as to the faith or personal beliefs of the patient.  We don't know if Mrs Petrie first enquired if the patient was Christian/Baptist, but if she did, then perhaps its more understandable... 

How many of us pray for people without asking their permission?  Does it really matter?  What if that person belongs to a different faith?  Does it matter more?  Or does it give you more of a right to pray for their 'salvation'?!

Could all my friends please give me permission to pray for them?  Otherwise I'll try to remember not to.


Teresa Silverthorn said...

The nurses mistake was to mention that she was going to pray. I'm sure not all people mean to, but sometimes people say that, to either look good to someone else, or simply because it seems appropriate to say so.

Suspending her was un-called for, tho.

Sad. She probably meant well.

desperatebride said...

Hey there...

I'm reading your blog at the moment, and finding it very interesting reading... About this post, I can't believe the authorities are suspending a nurse because she offered to pray for this old patient... I really don't know what the world is coming to, is it a criminal offense to be kind enough to include one in your prayers even when you have your own family and friends also to pray for... I feel it was a random act of kindness, and it seems so cold and cruel to be pushed on hard times simply coz of this... I do realise what you say about her job being to change the dressings, but I can't see the problem if she had already done her job to a level of satisfaction that it should matter so very much to have kindly offered a patient prayers... I'm afraid this is my opinion Mylissa...

Mylissa said...

Hi, thanks for your posts!
I'm sure you'll be glad to know that she wasn't suspended:

I completely agree with you about the random acts of kindness thing. I wish more people would be so friendly!

Like I said, I really don't know where I stand on the issue. But I am very glad she kept her job.

Ragados said...

Pray for me! I need it :-P