Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Update: Walter Reed Military Hospital's Religion Policy

Whoever is leading Walter Reed's PR team in handling communication for this issue deserves praise. Placing regular up-front full-text updates about it on the WRNMMC home page is a wise and unusual move. Here's the latest such announcement:

We are in the process of rewriting our policy and would like to offer the following statement:

Bibles and other religious materials have always been and will remain available for patient use at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The visitation policy as written was incorrect and should have been more thoroughly reviewed before its release. It has been rescinded. We apologize for any confusion the policy may have caused.

Please know that at admission, all patients are asked for their religious preference and a chaplain associated with their preference visits them regularly to provide spiritual services. In addition, their families may also bring religious material and we will not refuse any religious group entrance.

WRNMMC provides multiple venues at WRMNMC for religious expression and worship. There is daily Catholic Mass as well as Protestant, Hindu, and Muslim services. Eucharist is also available at the bedside. There are weekly Torah studies, multiple weekly Christian bible studies, as well as weekly Qur'an study. Furthermore, chaplains coordinate spiritual needs for those whose faith groups are not represented by staff chaplains (such as Latter-Day Saints, Buddhist, and Christian Scientist).

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center remains committed to supporting the religious preferences of all our patients and we will continue to ensure their spiritual needs are met

So far, so good. Much better than how this disaster started out.  

BTW, trivia I meant to include in yesterday's post: it is no accident that the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is located in a town named Bethesda, Maryland. Bethesda is a Biblical word translating as "House of Mercy", and was the name of a healing pool located in Jerusalem where Jesus performed one of His miracles, healing a man who had been crippled for 38 years. The pool, and the event, was described in the book of John 5:2-16.

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