47 32

This past summer I had a medical emergency that put me in a LOT of pain, couldn't even stand up straight. I live alone and am very independent in that it didn't even occur to me to call an ambulance. My pain was so severe that I decided that it'd be too difficult to drive to the nearest hospital ER which was 20 minutes away in the next city. Instead I drove myself 3 blocks/4 minutes to a walk-in urgent care center. In just a couple minutes they figured they weren't equipped to help me, and they told me they'd already called an ambulance to take me to the hospital.

The aforementioned next city over has 2 hospitals. One of them is a Catholic facility. I had neglected to pay attention that the Urgent Care I'd gone to was a satellite of St. Catholic's. So they shipped me up to St. Cath's. As they loaded my gurney into the ambulance i thought briefly of trying to get them to take me to the secular one. Then another stab of pain hit me and my religious preferences went out the window. This was no time for an argument nor theological discussion.

Before I knew it was waking up in St. Cath's 16 hours later. That was the beginning of a 3-week stay. Every day a member of the clergy staff would come into my room and say a quick, polite little prayer. Every evening they'd broadcast a basic sounding prayer over the PA system. Around Day 3 I'd took a bad turn and earned 2 1/2 days in ICU. In ICU they ramped up the religion as well as the medicine. Whereas the rest of the hospital got a casually-dressed everyday looking clergy rep, in ICU I got a formally-dressed (that well-known "backwards collar" ) priest who had to have been raised southern Baptist, because this one actually laid his hand upon my leg, and looked skyward as he BEGGED and CALLED upon the LAWD to "HEAL THY DAUGHTER'S BODY!!" And I must say this was said with UTHORITAH LAWD!!

I was astonished. Totally hadn't unexpected this. Quality and quantity in a prayer's intensity is directly related to the situation at hand? Would its power have been even stronger if they combined together more than 2 religions? Say to that Catholic/Baptist combo you added Muslim and Jewish religions (so that he'd say his prayer facing Mecca and ending it with a resounding "L'CHAIM!" )? These are the thoughts that went through my head as I watched him (admittedly there's a chance the pain meds MAY have played a hand here). And when he was done I was speechless for 5 seconds before bursting to a grin. Before my actual laughter started though, his face grew into a big grin in reply. The look on my face must've made his day.

Of course to start laughing at him right now would've been mean and rude. After all, these people were awesome and were working real hard to give me great care and keep this heathen, yours truly, from dying. And then, as drugged thoughts do, my mind rapidly switched from wanting to laugh to intense compassion... this priest clearly made an effort and i could see he really believing he truly DID something (other than entertain me). This is why I don't try tell people their prayers are a waste of time. I don't make it a habit of robbing others of this sort of joy, let them have it.

I had heard that non-secular hospitals will lessen their quality of care if they find out you're not Xtian and/or make decisions based on religion over science. I was getting great care and wasn't about to test the theory by telling them I was agnostic. Nobody asked, though. Which kinda confirms to me it's just a rumor, as I'd always hoped.
Anyone with similar or a different experience?

ZenStar 5 Jan 19

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account


Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.


Catholics are the most tolerant yeh, despite Catholicism or bc of it. Anyway as you note, prayers are known to be mostly for the pray-er, there's even a v to that effect i think


One of the best psych hospitals I know is religious based, but not near as invasive as you experienced. That hospital never pushed its religion - they are Mennonite, so not as evangelical as even the Catholics can become. As long as the medical care is good is my motto. Too bad there is even a need, and there is, for religious groups to maintain health care units in the U.S. We need universal care.


When checking into a hospital that had no apparent religious affiliation , I was surprised when I was not only asked my religion , but if I smoked , did drugs , or drank , and when I said no to all four , the woman asking the questions , then asked , " Well , what do you use as a crutch , then ? " Just told her , I stand on my own two feet , then realized I was sitting in my scooter .


Kindness is a gift you accept in the spirit it is offered. I gave birth to a 5 weeks premature boy, double cord strangulated and 3 points from stillbirth in a Catholic Hospital in Boston. He was resuscitated and taken to NICU and emergency baptized on the spot. I proceeded to dammed near bleed to death. I woke late to find an elderly nun in the black outfit and wimple covered by a white apron giving me a bed bath. She was wispering prayers as she worked and told me how my son was doing. They didn't release him for 5 days. I saw more black clad Priests and Nuns in those 5 days than before or since. They were all kind, and I was blessed by everyone I passed, probably because I was bloodless and looked faint. I wasn't Catholic, but they were kind all the same.


"First, do no harm!"

Praying is not harmful... Just useless.


Read a meme today, it was:
"If your doctor worked in mysterious ways, would you trust them?"


Glad you made out well!! A few things: first, the Urgent Care Center didn't ask you your preference on hospitals? Neither did the ambulance crew? See, that is illegal. It's called steering a patient. Unless you meet specific criteria (trauma, stroke, cardiac/AMI) you have a choice of hospitals if the distance between them is relatively similar. You mentioned, CT, which is almost exactly the same as NY, so I can speak with a bit of authority. As far as your religious choice, upon arrival at the ED, you may have been deemed to be in no condition to be asked about it. At some point the topic should have come up, and I'm surprised it didn't. But anyways, glad to see it worked out anyways!

Nope! Not asked even once. The questions they did ask were to try to figure out what was happening. And I was In such a way that I was having trouble getting the words out. So maybe they deemed me too far gone to ask me anything beyond the topic of my pain.
It was a 15 to 20-minute drive regardless whether it was the city hospital or St. Catholic’s, and I already knew that my insurance covered them both, so that was all I cared about at the moment. The pain was that consuming.
I can say this about consent and my insurance: it turned out that the ambulance company the Urgent Care had called was not covered by my insurance (Cigna). However, because the decision was made for me and I had no choice, they covered it completely, didn’t even have to pay a deductible.
Maybe They just assumed I was Catholic, or at least some kind of xtian since I thanked them and didn’t think of asking them to stop.
And thank you, I’m glad it all worked out too! ^_^


I’m sorry to hear that you were so ill a few months ago, and do hope that you’re now fully recovered. I live in the UK where all our hospitals are NHS (National Health Service), so I can’t actually relate to your experience of religious or secular hospitals, as all public hospitals here are secular. I can relate though to your remarks about not mocking those who believe in the power of prayer. If anyone ever says that they will pray for me I always say a polite thank you, even though I think “fat lot of use that’ll be”. It seems to bring comfort to many, and if it does that I have no cause to argue with them, especially if they are trying to be kind and well meaning.

Precisely! Why be a buzzkill?


I sometimes think how much fun it will be dying in Hospice and while doing so amusing myself by the dismantling of the wandering clergy.

Reminds me of the scene in "Dogma" with Loki and nun at the airport, in Wisconsin.


I'm glad you're feeling better. Your posting also highlights the need for people living alone to contact emergency care when it's needed and not be too stoic. If your condition worsens there may be no relation of friend available to call for help.

Your story was well written, very fair and an interesting story. Perhaps it also shows how important tolerance is in life. I think your assessment of your care was very fair. As a group do we need to be so hostile to Christians? Toleration does work bothways.

Thank you! That too was part of my point. I was raised Agnostic and taught to respect the religions of others, and to ask questions before making judgements. If it's pushed on me after a polite No, then I push back.


So they took good care of you, and provided a free show - can't beat that !

Right?!? Exactly.


I would've laughed at him, and if he asked why I'd tell him that if he wants to help people as much as it appears he does, he should have done something useful with his education like go to medical school.

Glad you're ok.

1of5 Level 8 Jan 19, 2020

My wife has been admitted to a Catholic hospital in our neighborhood quite a few times. We like it. There is a picture of the pope somewhere, and the odd crucifix here and there. There is a chapel where you can go for mass (or listen if you are in bed). There is even an episcopal (Anglican) service once a week. Priests only come by invitation, and the medical staff are knowledgeable and helpful. If you don't mention religion, they won't either. But then this is Australia. I hope it stays this way.


I think I would have rather had an Iroquois or Cherokee shaman. 🤔
Happy that it worked out for you, stay healthy. 😉

Thank you!


It can happen but the care was good that is what matters getting better the rest is just a inconvenience

bobwjr Level 10 Jan 20, 2020

My mother died at Georgetown here in DC. Obviously, a Catholic hospital with huge pics of the Pope. But no one ever came in to pray or asked about religion. Glad your ok, and the prayer won't kill ya! I think of it as nice thoughts from a random.person 🙂

Right, that’s how I think of it now though as a kid it bugged me out.

@ZenStar I grew up with no religion at all so I have no 'feelings' about prayer. Maybe I look at it as more like meditation.

@GreatNani Me, 2. I even meditate during long prayers I can't avoid, since I can never meditate too much, and once I enter that mental state, time stops and nothing matters.


Full of endometriosis, I wound up having an hysterectomy at a Catholic hospital. (Don't's where the doctor practiced.) Anyway, I was just waiting for someone to lambaste me for having the WOMB removed. Every morning a priest would come in and I'd send him out. I also asked them to put a cover over the giant crucifix hanging in my line of sight. I hope you're ok now?

MUCH better now thank you! Hope you’re doing better as well.

@ZenStar GOOD!


I was in Mercy Hospital in Springfield, MO last Feb (five days) for AFib and pulmonary hypertension. They knew I was an atheist, and I never had a problem with them.


Last year, I had an x-ray done by a male technician wearing a do-rag covered in Bible quotes and a big cross around his neck.

"I'm an atheist," I said when he started proselytizing about how he was saved by Jesus. "Please stop talking about religion." He would not stop.

Afterward, I wrote a letter to the clinic customer service, describing the experience. I said his proselytizing was unprofessional, inappropriate, pressuring and uncomfortable for me.

The x-ray supervisor called asking for his name. I didn't remember. "Why don't you look up my last x-ray and see who did it?" I suggested. She said she couldn't find him. Unbelievable.

I had open heart surgery a few years back in Wichita, KS. One of the guys that came in to take blood started ranting on about how gays and lesbians were ruining the country. I waited for him to take the needle out and then told him that not everyone thinks like he does.

When the nurse came in to do vitals I told her that I never want this guy in my room and told him what he did. She looked at me in horror and told me she would take care of it. I never saw him back in my room, and to be honest I hope he was fired.

@kiramea I’m glad you spoke up! Never mind religion, that was straight up (no pun intended)hate speech!

@LiterateHiker that’s suspect that they couldn’t find him. Any little thing that happens, the person’s name goes on it.




I'm sorry that you ended up in a hospital in the first place but glad that it all turned out OK. As for your idea of getting less from a hospital system of this type if you admitted you are agnostic, you are probably right. It means you did the right thing.


If people want to pray than it is okay with me. Just don't force me to believe. They did what they thought was right.


Hope you're feeling better now.

I sure am too! 🙂 thank you!


Similar experience a few years ago.The general practice when in acute observation care is to ask
the patient if they have a religious believe.
As for the religious propaganda. I feel sorry you had to go through it.
But one must be tolerant of other peoples philosophy when in such a position.
Of life or death.
Any port in the storm if it saves your life


I had elective surgery in the 1970s when a newly purchased horse threw his head back, smashing into my head, then reared up until he fell over on me.
When I came to, I was walking in the pasture with my border collie, Benji, but I had lost my memory and didn't know what that weird black and white thing was running around, even though I somehow knew her name.

I kept staring at her curiously, and went out a pasture gate, even though I didn't know what the gate was, who I was, or my name. Hours later, when I recovered my memory I saw my nose was smashed and crooked.

I had Blue Cross insurance with my job, so scheduled nose plastic surgery, but it was in a Catholic hospital over Thanksgiving. I was so happy to get my nose fixed, I was tickled over the cute priests blessing me before the operation, and the cute nuns coming by to bless me afterward, trying to "cheer me up," even though I was so happy I felt like I was floating on air.

After that, I had a warm place in my heart for Catholics until all the child abuse reveals. But now a driver from a Catholic charity takes me to my paracentesis hospital appointments every ten days,

He's so funny, patient, and fun to talk to in the car, I now wish I were more like him. I did slip up and used the F word last ride, during a story, but I plead grogginess from pain medication.

I take half droppers of Indica cannabis oil..triple the amount on hospital days, to make sure I don't feel anything; I learned the hard way that if I don't take my own (cannabis) pain killer, the hospital pain shots aren't very effective, if at all.

Anyway, I modified my hate list after encountering such unselfish kindness to cancer patients from a Catholic charity.


No matter the pain I might have been experiencing...I would have insisted on being transferred to a medically capable facility POSTHASTE. #FuckReligion

You know, before this happed I said exactly the same thing. But this was literally the worst pain I'd ever had. And when you're suffering and help is on it's way, you're less apt to start putting conditions & codicils on it. You just want it to end.


Wow! For decades, the only hospital in the town where I lived in Cali was Catholic. I had my tonsils out there and the nuns were actually very kind--no mention of religion was ever made.

In my other experiences in a non-religious hospital, religion was never mentioned. My Medicare is "system" is Catholic--haven't been to the hospital, but the doctor's office is quite secular.

Write Comment
You can include a link to this post in your posts and comments by including the text q:450951
Agnostic does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content. Read full disclaimer.