Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Religion in the Way

Patient Safety and Religion??

It hit me like a ton of bricks, right out of left field. I opened an e-mail early in the morning to find that a woman who has been working for us for a few weeks quit when she learned of PULSE’s work with the transgender community. Her letter read “I must say that while I support the overall mission of PULSE of NY, as I a born again Christian, I do not support homosexuality and transgender issues. To do so now by continuing to work on various projects with the organization, would be to go against the principles of my Christian faith.”

I was curious, and asked what her Christian faith had to do with the human right to patient’s safety, which is, after all what PULSE is about. She explained in thoughtful detail “By working to push for equal rights in healthcare without taking a stand against it, I am very well giving a green light to something I don't agree with”. Her letter was kind and gentle, but still very confusing to me. In our exchange I told her I don’t agree with drug abuse and abusers but will fight for their right to safe, quality care.

 In her note she replied “I also see this as a means of supporting the alternative lifestyle in general. I will offer assistance to anyone and help them receive support and guidance who is repentant and wants to change, but I am against supporting the practice to continue on with that behavior.”

 
I was sad to lose her and then felt anger that people hide their prejudice behind religion. I felt the passion for the work I (we) do in patient safety is not as important as …..the bible? This wouldn’t have become a religious discussion. I know my beliefs and wouldn’t dare discuss them with people I don’t know but this was deeper than religion. What if a nurse or doctor, resident about to do surgery or a paramedic about to save a person’s life feels this way? Would saving them or healing them, go against their “Christian faith”? Would treating a homosexual or transgender patient in the hospital be giving them the “green light” to continue “that behavior”?

 
I was an advocate for a transgender man having a hysterectomy some years ago in a Catholic hospital. Though the staff at this facility obviously lacked sensitivity training and some common sense, most of the people there were kind and gentle. They may not have even been Christian workers. But what if I wasn’t there. Could it have been different? Will I always wonder now if people bring their prejudice to work?

 I expect that medical professionals are caring and take an oath to help and heal but it has put a fear in me that we cannot assume everyone thinks that way and this is another reason to be sure everyone has an advocate with them in the hospital.





3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ilene:

Don't give her another thought. The road of life is littered with people who let themselves get distracted from doing something positive with their lives because of perceived differences between them and those around them.

Curiously, they often discover their mistakes when they are in need and the first to help are the very ones they once rejected.

We humans are such silly little beings. Our differences are mere figments of our imaginations to which we cling to feed our ego.

Medical Safety said...

So tragic that those who claim to know and understand the Christian faith have not a clue as to what it means to love one another. PULSE was founded on that principle, to love one another. Next time this happens, please refer the party to the Word of God, Especially 1 Corinthians 13. 7 "It always protects", and 13 "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+13&version=NIV
How tragic that PULSE reps allow 21st century propaganda to overcome the core of their faith.

Zdenko Kaputny said...

This is my first exposure to PULSE. I would like to know more about it. In my country, we were being killed to be Christians, so I know that is important. However, a humanitarian mission that has an altruistic focus as apparently your business does seems to be a good place for a Christian. I don't understand this person's problem with alternative lifestyles. Sure, the Bible reveals against such practices but Jesus himself looked up at the woman and said, "Where are your accusers?" "They have gone." She Replied. "Then neither do I accuse you."