Wish I could say that I was surprised by this.
Religious doctors no more likely to care for underserved patients
In the July/August issue of the Annals of Family Medicine, researchers from the University of Chicago and Yale New Haven Hospital report that 31 percent of physicians who were more religiousâ..as measured by “intrinsic religiosity” as well as frequency of attendance at religious servicesâ..practiced among the underserved, compared to 35 percent of physicians who described their religion as atheist, agnostic or none.
“This came as both a surprise and a disappointment,” said study author Farr Curlin, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. “The Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist scriptures all urge physicians to care for the poor, and the great majority of religious physicians describe their practice of medicine as a calling. Yet we found that religious physicians were not more likely to report practice among the underserved than their secular colleagues.”
Physicians have many compelling reasons to avoid spending the bulk of their time caring for the poor. It can mean forgoing professional prestige, free time and academic opportunities. It often comes with reduced salaries, decreased support staff and constant bureaucratic interference.