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Clinicians’ personal religious beliefs may impact treatment provided to patients who are homosexual

Survey reveals some clinicians feel unprepared to care for, or would change approach when caring for, homosexual patients

TORONTO – In a report presented at CHEST 2017, researchers from the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas, sought to determine if a clinician’s own religious beliefs could influence the care of a homosexual patient.

An anonymous 30-question survey was conducted from July 2015 to February 2016 with health-care providers in 174 different institutions in 40 different countries. The survey asked questions about religious beliefs and approach toward patients who identified as homosexual.

Physicians, nurses, medical students, and nursing students completed 10,106 surveys. When answering the question “how do your beliefs about homosexuality affect the care you provide to a patient who is homosexual?” 10.3% of non-Christian health-care providers would approach patients differently based on their sexual orientation. 20% of non-Christian/non-Catholic health-care providers and 16.6% of Christian/Catholic providers did not feel prepared to provide care to homosexual patients. Clinicians who identified as practicing Jehovah’s Witnesses and Hinduism were more likely to treat homosexual patients differently based on their personal beliefs about homosexuality.

“In our study, a clinician’s religious beliefs seem to have an impact in the medical management of homosexual patients,” says lead researcher Dr. Joseph Varon, “health-care providers must be committed to implement an equal and decent care to patients respecting their sexual preference, and training and education must be provided, so clinicians feel comfortable addressing the health needs of patients identifying as homosexual.”

Read "Religion as a Factor When Treating Homosexual Patients: Results of a Large International Multi-Center Study."


CHEST 2017 is the 83rd annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, held October 28-November 1, 2017, in Toronto, Ontario. The American College of Chest Physicians, publisher of the journal CHEST®, is the global leader in advancing best patient outcomes through innovative chest medicine education, clinical research, and team-based care. Its mission is to champion the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of chest diseases through education, communication, and research. It serves as an essential connection to clinical knowledge and resources for its 19,000+ members from around the world who provide patient care in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine. For more information about CHEST annual meeting, visit chestmeeting.chestnet.org, or follow CHEST meeting hashtag, #CHEST2017, on social media.