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Views & Reviews Personal View

Hospital chaplaincy services are not only for religious patients

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 06 April 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1403

Chaplains and unbelief

Chaplaincy services in hospitals is in my experience is as
essential as a good catering service; one provides food for
the body and the other, succour for the ailing human
spirit, regardless of belief system. The chaplain often is
like an ombudsman for the patient too. In a foxhole there
are few atheists.

With regards chaplains for those with no spiritual beliefs,
I imagine most humans especially very sick or on their
death beds would like there to be a Beneficent One running
the Cosmos a bit like a big version of the Tooth Fairy, and
a pleasant, long-term afterlife to boot. The problem is
that the One running the Cosmos does not reveal His, Her or
Their presence with enough clarity to make us all true and
happy believers of the one true One. If this happened we
probably wouldn't need chaplains.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

08 April 2009
Roger K.A. Allen
Senior Thoracic and Sleep Physician
Wesley Medical Centre, Auchenflower, Brisbane, Qld 4066, Australia