Can i pray with you?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A 40-year-old woman with no significant family history of cancer came to me for a second opinion about her widely metastatic infiltrating gastric cancer. She had been diagnosed less than one month prior and had seen a local oncologist and had been started on chemotherapy treatments. Her affect was not as I suspected it would be: she smiled frequently and seemed very upbeat for someone with such a terrible diagnosis. When it came time to discuss many of the emotionally upsetting aspects of her case, such as her prognosis, she shifted constantly to talk about God, her religion, her religious ways of coping, and her conviction that God could perform miracles. Finally, she asked me if I was religious.As a nonreligious person, this made me very uncomfortable; nonetheless, I told her I wasn't religious. She then began to talk in a way that I perceived to be proselytizing, trying to convince me of the validity of her views. Finally, she asked if she and her family could pray for me right there in the examination room. I allowed them to do this and patiently waited as they prayed for several minutes. I am not sure I handled this right. What were my ethical obligations to participate?

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalONCOLOGY (United States)
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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