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Suspended by Prayer

As if Britain needed any more proof of its complete secularization, a nurse working in North Somerset, England, has been suspended for simply offering to pray for a patient. A registered nurse for more than 25 years, Caroline Petrie was caring for an elderly woman at the woman’s home when Petrie asked if she would like her to pray for her. The woman politely declined but complained to Petrie’s authorities the following day, which prompted an initial warning. The day after, however, Petrie was informed that she would not be allowed to work until the incident was fully investigated.

“We always take any concerns raised by our patients most seriously and conscientiously investigate any matter of this nature brought to our attention,” a spokesman for North Somerset Primary Care Trust said. “We are always keen to be respectful of our patients’ views and sensitivity as well as those of our staff.”

According to multiple sources, the elderly woman “said that she wasn’t offended but was concerned that someone else might be.” Petrie, who attends a Baptist church with her husband and two children, mentioned that she often offers to pray for her patients, many of whom take up her offer. “My concern is for the person as a whole, not just their health.”

Last October the 45-year-old nurse was reprimanded for an incident in which she gave a patient a homemade “prayer card.” Although the elderly man had happily accepted the item, his caregiver reported Petrie, which prompted her boss at the time to remind her, “Your NMC [Nursing Midwifery Council] code states that ‘you must demonstrate a personal and professional commitment to equality and diversity’ and ‘you must not use your professional status to promote causes that are not related to health.’”

Following her suspension, Petrie sought the help of the Christian Legal Centre, an organization of legal representative organization seeking to promote religious freedom and, in particular, protect Christians. She will learn later this week whether she’ll lose her job or be allowed to resume duties. [, 2/1/09;, 2/1/09]


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