Death, dying and informatics: Misrepresenting religion on MedLine

Pablo Rodriguez Del Pozo, Joseph J. Fins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: The globalization of medical science carries for doctors worldwide a correlative duty to deepen their understanding of patients' cultural contexts and religious backgrounds, in order to satisfy each as a unique individual. To become better informed, practitioners may turn to MedLine, but it is unclear whether the information found there is an accurate representation of culture and religion. To test MedLine's representation of this field, we chose the topic of death and dying in the three major monotheistic religions. Methods: We searched MedLine using PubMed in order to retrieve and thematically analyze full-length scholarly journal papers or case reports dealing with religious traditions and end-of-life care. Our search consisted of a string of words that included the most common denominations of the three religions, the standard heading terms used by the National Reference Center for Bioethics Literature (NRCBL), and the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) used by the National Library of Medicine. Eligible articles were limited to English-language papers with an abstract. Results: We found that while a bibliographic search in MedLine on this topic produced instant results and some valuable literature, the aggregate reflected a selection bias. American writers were over-represented given the global prevalence of these religious traditions. Denominationally affiliated authors predominated in representing the Christian traditions. The Islamic tradition was under-represented. Conclusion: MedLine's capability to identify the most current, reliable and accurate information about purely scientific topics should not be assumed to be the same case when considering the interface of religion, culture and end-of-life care.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Medical Ethics
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Informatics
Religion
dying
death
Terminal Care
Medical Subject Headings
National Library of Medicine (U.S.)
Bioethics
Internationality
Selection Bias
denomination
bioethics
PubMed
English language
Language
writer
globalization
medicine
trend
science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health Policy

Cite this

Death, dying and informatics : Misrepresenting religion on MedLine. / Rodriguez Del Pozo, Pablo; Fins, Joseph J.

In: BMC Medical Ethics, Vol. 6, 01.07.2005.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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