praying for your patients

The case of Caroline Petrie hit the news a few days ago, with Cranmer covering it in typically forthright fashion. Caroline Petrie is a nurse, who was suspended by the NHS after a patient complained about her offering to pray for them.

“Nurse Petrie cares for the sick and elderly, and does so with a vocational professional concern for the whole person – mind, body and spirit.
But one elderly woman patient in Winscombe, North Somerset, decided that the care is too much, too genuine, too heartfelt. When Nurse Petrie offered to pray for her, the patient politely declined. But afterwards she decided to be so offended as to feel the urge to telephone the nurse’s employer and make a complaint. It is not clear how this complaint was formalised, but it appears that Nurse Petrie’s superiors decided to be even more offended than the original offended party, who was not originally so offended as to tell Nurse Petrie what the offence was or wasn’t in the first place. And so Nurse Petrie was summoned to appear before an internal disciplinary panel to explain her conduct. And this panel doubtless believes itself to be God’s gift to discernment and justice – if the phrase ‘God’s gift’ does not cause it undue offence – and they are tasked with assessing whether an offer of prayer is illegal and sufficient grounds for dismissal.”

I can instantly think of at least half a dozen friends and relatives who work in the medical/nursing professions and who are bound (in a way that is almost superfluous to point out) to have been in the position of wanting to help their patients by praying for them.

In fact I got an email from one of them yesterday, expressing deep concern. “In the course of my work as a Christian GP in [a certain location in] Scotland, patients frequently ask me to pray for them and sometimes to pray with them. I have gladly done so and would be outraged if a bureaucrat objected to such actions. We must make a stand against these God-dishonouring bureaucratic posturings.”

The suggestion has also been made that anybody who wants to express support for Caroline Petrie could do so in various ways –
* write to Caroline Petrie, care of her church (Milton Baptist Church, Baytree Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS22 8HJ)
* write to her pastor, John S Smith, to encourage him for his unequivocal support for Mrs Petrie
* write to North Somerset Primary Care Trust, the employer who has suspended her – either Chris Born the Chief Executive or Vanessa Dando (the Patient Advice and Liason Service Officer), both at North Somerset PCT, Waverley House, Old Church Road, Clevedon, North Somerset, BS21 6NN

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