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The site Big Questions exists for precisely this kind of query: "Should doctors," asks Heather Wax, "have to disclose their religious beliefs (or lack thereof)?" Well, why should they? Clive Seale, a professor of medical sociology at the University of London, attempts to answer and in the process outlines, at the very least, the reasons for asking the question.

Seale has done a study looking at "the role of doctors' religious faith and ethnicity in taking ethically controversial decisions during end-of-life care," a hot topic right now. Apparently, "both religious beliefs and atheist beliefs" can have an effect on medical treatment.

It is probable that not all doctors are aware that their own decisions are influenced by this. If I were a patient facing a period of end-of-life care, I would want to know if my doctor had strong convictions either way, quite independently of whether the doctor thought he or she could put aside their convictions and put my interests first.

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