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Assessing the ethical weight of cultural, religious and spiritual claims in the clinical context
  1. James F Buryska
  1. Mayo Foundation Hospitals, Rochester, MN, USA


    The aim of this paper is to expand upon the conclusions reached by Orr and Genesen in their 1997 article (published in this journal), Requests for ‘inappropriate’ treatment based on religious beliefs.1 Assuming, with Orr and Genesen, that claims made in the name of religion are not absolute, I will propose some principles for determining when claims based on religious beliefs or cultural sensibilities “trump” other considerations and when they do not.

    • Cultural, religious, and spiritual claims for treatment
    • idiosyncratic cultural or religious views
    • recognition of existential reality

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    • James F Buryska, STL, is Chaplain Services Ethics Education and Resource Coordinator, Mayo Foundation Hospitals, Rochester, MN, USA.

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