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Editor's Correspondence
April 26, 2004

Religious Conviction and Decisions Near the End of Life

Author Affiliations

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Arch Intern Med. 2004;164(8):916. doi:10.1001/archinte.164.8.916-a

Although the article by Brett and Jersild1 on the effect of religious conviction on end-of-life decisions was from a Christian perspective, it may be useful for physicians dealing with Muslims as well. Throughout my work in acute medicine in an Islamic country and in talking with some of my colleagues, we have encountered similar situations. Relatives of patients, and occasionally physicians also, may come up with arguments similar to those outlined by Brett and Jersild to justify futile therapy. Therefore, their recommended approach and proposed counterarguments may be applicable. Fortunately, scenarios such as those given by Brett and Jersild are uncommon in our practice. Most people follow the logical interpretation. Thus, religious conviction has facilitated acceptance of physicians' recommendations near the end of life rather than obstructed it.