Hospitals with Religious Names

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Jaxel's picture
Hospitals with Religious Names

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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chimp3's picture
Religious groups open

Religious groups open hospitals. It is simple as that. Catholics , Baptists , Methodists , Presbyterians , Seventh-Day Adventists have all opened hospitals with the stated mission of continuing the healing ministry of Christ. They then hire real doctors otherwise no healing would take place. These hospitals are privately owned not public institutions. Many cities have a county/municipally owned hospital such as Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix. Those are secular institutions.

mykcob4's picture
Exactly. I don't know why

Exactly. I don't know why people don't understand that. It's simple enough!

The Pragmatic's picture
What, they need hospitals?

What, does religious groups need hospitals? Are you saying that praying doesn't work??

My first aid kit contains a Bible, a crucifix and holy water.

ZeffD's picture
The Guardian newspaper (UK)

The Guardian newspaper (UK) has been reporting on this topic. I found this which might be relevant...
ADF supports the inclusion of invocations at public meetings and the use of religious displays (such as crosses and other religious monuments) on public lands and in public buildings. The ADF opposes abortion, and believes that healthcare workers have a right to decline participation in the performance of abortions and other practices an individual health worker finds morally objectionable.

Weeks after learning she would give birth to her third child, Jessica Mann was faced with a difficult decision: because she was stricken by a life-threatening brain tumor, her doctor recommended she have her fallopian tubes tied at the time of her scheduled cesarean section delivery, later this month.
Mann agreed to undergo the procedure at her hospital to prevent the risk of a future pregnancy exacerbating her tumor. But the hospital, Genesys Regional Medical Center in Grand Blanc, Michigan, declined on religious grounds. Source (Oct 2015):

Five women suffered prolonged miscarriages, severe infections and emotional trauma at Mercy Health Partners when staff neglected patients’ health to uphold religious directives against inducing delivery.... Source (Feb 2016):

And sometimes it is not the hospitals but zealots or "Bubblers"....
The Followers of Christ is a religious sect that preaches faith healing in states such as Idaho, which offers a faith-based shield for felony crimes – despite alarming child mortality rates among these groups.. Source (Apr 2016):

"Healthcare denied at 550 hospitals because of [Roman] Catholic doctrine... Catholic healthcare is growing and its religious restrictions can be hazardous." (Forbes 7th May 2016).

"Every day, one in six patients in the U.S. is cared for in a Catholic hospital" Source: chausa 2016.

NeverHappened's picture
It varies, but many hospitals

It varies, but many hospitals with religious names were started 100 or more years ago when religious organizations were the main groups running them. In many cases nowadays (some exceptions) the religiously named hospitals are just like any other, the name is only kept for tradition. Some are now publicly run.

Plenty of religious people actually do believe in medicine, really.

mykcob4's picture
It seems that most hospitals

It seems that most hospitals that are built these days are named for the insurance company that built them. "Harris Hospital" etc...!
The problem is that the first wide spread use of hospitals were from the catholic church. The apothecary of monasteries and infirmaries were all from the church. It made perfect financial sense to the church to be the only place that they could cure the afflicted, and they had no worry of failure because they could always state that the patient was not devout enough to be saved. Thus churchs had a stranglehold on what science there was. They controlled life and death, education and the after life. A monopoly as it were. As protestant churchs arose they too ventured into this lucrative enterprise. They also wanted control of what I mentioned before. Those whole sections of different faiths/religions commanded a medical wing of their respective religions. They built hospitals, universities (and other education/brainwash centers) to be a part of the dominance of their ongoing concerns. This practiced hasn't stopped, only the standards and staffing has changed. As hospitals became more profitable the emphasis on the dogma has lessened. Now it's all about filling beds and performing the most expensive procedure per patient, rather than saving their soul. Some religiously named and own hospitals are charity based. St. Jude's in Memphis comes to mind, but even at that rate, the fame and reputation that the catholic church receives is worth it's weight in gold. Most if not all hospitals in the USA anyway are bound by law (not oath) to do the very best they can despite the cost fro the patient. However "care" isn't the main aim of most if not all hospitals. Profit is! So basically hospitals should be named for the financial enterprise that they represent. Cancer Treatment of America comes to mind. They should really be called Oncology for the purpose of the large donations and monetary endowments from the American Cancer Society.
Have you ever noticed that going to the hospital entails huge amounts of paperwork? Why do you think that is? I'll tell you why. It's all about the money. Insurance, SSNs, bank accounts, are all gleaned from the patient. The should just put a big "$" on the hospital instead of naming it in the first place.

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