There is this patient that I have been managing for some time now. She is about 50years, and for the past couple of months, she has had a consistently high blood pressure. She is an educated woman and a devout Catholic I must say. The problem is that we are failing to start and keep her on treatment because of her faith. From the look of things, she thinks either she can pray it off, or starting medication would mean doubting God. I have tried talking to her, started her on the medication, but once the BP’s are controlled, she just stops taking her medication. Sometime last year, a similar scenario happened, I met this young man at church, his daughter had this rash on her chest; just under a medal she was wearing. She had actually developed a contact dermatitis because of the material from which the medal is made. It wasn’t the miraculous medal, but had a picture of our blessed mother. So I suggested that he gets something that’s made from material to which the girl would not react. He didn’t say a thing, but from his reaction he hadn’t taken my advice, and yes the little girl still has the medal around the neck and continuously gets treatment for the rash. This young man is not only educated, but also a health worker. I find helping such people rather difficult and really do not know how to go about it. I do not know whether to call this faith, superstition, or is it me who has little faith.
God created humans and the people here are her gift also. To reject medical help is to reject the help that God created out of Love.
There’s a prayer attributed to Teresa of Avila that starts out “Christ has no body now on earth but yours; no hands but yours; no feet but yours.” I firmly believe that doctors and other medical people are Christ’s healing hands on earth. But I don’t know that there’s a way to convince other people of this.
The medal may have special significance. The only metal I know that are hypoallergenic are Gold or possibly Stainless Steel. Gold is expensive and Stainless Steel may not be attractive to the child. In this instance, MYOB may be the best course of action as she is not a client or patient of yours. I don’t say that to be snarky but Christ reached out to His ‘Clients’ and in many cases got a headbutt in return. You do what you can and accept that some things you have to walk away from.
You’re not obligated to accept all medical help.
Doesn’t accept medicine that God has given us? I would tell them about the guy who was flooded out and the rescue boat came and he said no the Lord will save me. Then the water kept rising and the guy is in his second story, the boat came and he said no the Lord will save me. The water kept rising and now he is on the roof and a helicopter came and he said, no the Lord will save me. Well he drown. When he got to St Peter he was mad. He said I want to see the boss. I prayed and He didn’t save me. So St. Peter takes the man to the throne room and the man repeats his complaint. The Lord God answered, well I will have my angels check but I remember sending 2 boats and a helicopter to get you. Then I would walk away!
If it is for my physical health, why wouldn’t I?
The Doctor is free to make suggestions and you’re free to explore other options.
The first thing that came to mind was to continue to try to encourage her and pray for her everyday. My personal prayer would be akin to “ Thank you Lord for her beautiful faith in You which I know pleases You because of its sincerity. Yet you know my worry Lord, if it is Your will please allow me to encourage her to accept treatment that will ease her pain. Thank you Father”.
Maybe in these cases there is also someone else that can nudge her from your team.
As for the little girl, I forgot if she was your patient and my phone won’t let me backtrack, but continue telling her father what can help her, I would state it in a way where it’s tough for him to refuse like” by the way I wanted to recommend something that will prevent this from becoming extremely painful for your daughter,…worse case scenarios entail…”
For the girl with the medal, if she coated it with clear nail polish, that might help her. Not much help with the chain though, if that’s the problem. The other option would be to offer her a brown scapular instead. If the medal is from someone special like grandma or a favorite aunt, saying they won’t mind because they don’t want to see her suffer with a rash, they’ll understand.
Dealing with the public takes a great amount of patience. God bless and guide you.
There is nothing in authentic Catholic teaching telling us to reject basic medicine.
Don’t know about the young father, except for the clear nail polish suggestion–that has to be renewed every so often, btw, but the older woman may have a different situation going on. As someone who is somewhat older than this woman, it’s kind of hard to admit that you actually need “old people’s” medicine, iyswim.
And some people in my family are reluctant to start life-long meds because they are afraid they will become dependent on them (not in an addictive way).
It may well be that your patient is doing what you suggested, and you certainly know her better than I do, but it may be something unrelated to her faith which is causing her to behave this way. In addition, the BP meds may make her feel bad in some way, and that might be a factor.
Perhaps if you talk with the patients and ask them, you will get a clearer idea of what is going on. Maybe the father can’t afford a more expensive medal, or maybe feels she is too young for a more expensive medal.
With the older woman, you could say, “Why do you dislike staying on your BP med?” Or you could share a story of a Catholic patient who thought as you think she does and the theological solution.
Regarding the lady with high blood pressure, she may simply be in denial about her condition or not want to go on medication, and using God as an excuse.
I had two close relatives with high blood pressure and both of them refused to get treatment for it for a very long time. Although they were both believers and one was very religious, they did not use God as their excuse, but I can totally see someone doing that.
I know it’s difficult for medical professionals to understand this, but there are many people who just don’t want to deal with the fact that they might have a chronic illness and do not want to be on medication for the rest of their lives. They may have concerns about side effects or have seen their own close relatives and friends have very bad experiences with the medical industry. It has nothing to do with education. It is an emotional decision for the most part. I myself am very uncomfortable with doctors or medical anything because of numerous experiences with my parents’ illnesses and hospitalizations. I hope to get past this at some point in the near future, but I can definitely understand denial and ambivalence about medical treatment.
I would agree with this. Also if there is any way to manage it without meds, try that.
Nobody is obligated to accept it. But only a fool rejects it out of hand, without even considering the possibility of accepting it.
She is an educated woman and a devout Catholic but she is acting very foolishly.
We haven’t established that anyone is a fool. In all honesty, the person in question should consider lifestyle changes before medication.
People sometimes act in ways that appear foolish to others.
They may have good (to them) reasons for acting as they do.
If she doesn’t follow medical advice about medication, why would she follow medical advice about a lifestyle change? I’m sure we all know people who don’t believe in doctors. I know several …
Whelp, that’s their choice