This might just be a regional thing where I’m from in the US, I don’t know. Around where I live, it seems that nearly all hospitals and large medical offices have religious names, with most being named after Christian saints (St. Anthony’s, St. Luke’s, etc.), and one having “Jewish” in the hospital name.
Does this bother anyone else? Why are hospitals, which treat patients of all creeds with hard science, still named after Christian saints? I understand that a lot of the first hospitals in US cities were run by the Catholic church, but why the continued affiliation? It’s like the Christian religion is taking credit for the healing of patients and delivering of babies, when it’s medical science doing all the work. Sure, there are always little “chapels” in these hospitals where believers can go pray, I guess, and then attribute their loved one’s recovery to the prayer instead of to medical science.
So in this 21st century, can’t we at least just give these places of medical science the name of the city, or neighborhood (Jonestown Hospital or Southwest Medical Center, for instance), and get rid of this lingering grip that religion has on health care companies in the US?
I was visiting a family member at one of these “St.” hospitals last week, and I noticed there was a cross and a plaque with a prayer on the wall of her room, and in a spot where the patient could clearly see them.
If I had to stay at that hospital as a patient, as an atheist, would I have the option of a “religion-free” room without symbols and prayers on the wall? No, that probably wasn’t considered in the designing of the hospital. No, most people around here are Christian (this is 'Murica, after all), the designers must have said, and we’re named after Saint Whatever, therefore we must put Christian symbols in every patient's room, regardless of the patient's religion. If I raised a fuss and threatened to call the ACLU they might take the stuff off the walls, but then I’d be a jerk and probably get poor care because I was a difficult patient. So this would be another case in my life where I would just shut my mouth, stew on the fact that I have this religion forced upon me in what one would reasonably expect to be a neutral place in modern society, and move on. Actually, thinking about it, I’d just have a friend take the stuff off the wall, put them in a drawer, and see if the staff notice. But it’s the principle of the matter that I care about!
I suppose, if I was able to find a hospital in my city without a religious name, I could market shop and have the ambulance driver take me halfway across the city to that hospital while I was having a heart attack. Yeah, I think I'd rather suffer with a cross on the wall and live rather than die proving my point.
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