Should a spiritual healer such as Pakistan's Muhammad Sabir be held accountable if his or her patient dies?

  • Strange Question: Sabir is not a run of the mill failed healer.

    Muhammad Sabir was arrested for cutting a man's throat after promising to raise him from the dead afterwards. The victim was not a 'patient' in that this procedure was not intended to cure him of any disease. It should not come as any surprise that this resurrection spectacularly failed to happen.

    Although the victim apparently volunteered for this operation it seems to be a pretty clear cut murder. Even the most hardened alt-loving crystal-obsessed new-age loony would struggle to say that this was anything other than grossly irresponsible reckless endangerment.

  • Healers must heal their patients

    If a 'healer' makes their patient fully aware of how their cures do not work and are not supported by medical science then they should be free to give out whatever 'cures' they want with their patients informed consent. However if they say they have the ability to cure an illness when they don't or if they were fully aware conventional medicine (aka, medicine that actually works) can and would save them yet they allow them to die anyway then it is unforgivable and they deserve to be tried for manslaughter.

  • You practice healing you face the same consequences as other healers

    Muhammad Sabir can be commended for opening others to spiritual healing but there are other more standard medical treatments available to his patients that should be also considered and utilized. There is no denying that positive thinking and a higher spiritual plane can help the body and mind do amazing things. The problem is that it's very difficult to determine who are legitimate and who are frauds, so there needs to be the same safeguards, just like what we have for other practitioners.

  • Spiritual healing could prevent real medical treatment

    Spiritual healing is a recognized psuedoscience. While it can possibly serve a purpose in the same way religion can, it is not proper medical treatment. Giving somone a fake treatment, while telling them it's real, could prevent the person from acquiring actual medical treatment. If that results in their death, then the act is indistinguishable from involuntary manslaughter, causing another person's death through reckless behavior, which is a serious crime.

  • People die, it's nobody's fault.

    Death is a natural part of life. Just because a person refuses to use traditional medicine does not mean they are wrong. It also goes into what belief structure you subscribe to. If you believe that a spiritual healer helps you then that is a choice you have made as an individual. Only you can decide for yourself, nobody makes you do anything.

  • No, if a patient opts for a spiritual healer instead of conventional medicine, the healer is not culpable.

    No, a spiritual healer such as Muhammad Sabir should not be held accountable for his or her patient's death any more than a traditional medical professional would be held accountable. In dealing with terminal illnesses, end of life ethical concerns, and palliative care, the most crucial matter is honoring a patient's desires. A well-informed patient knows the risks and benefits of opting for one form of care over another, and in that instance honoring the patient's beliefs matters far more than figuring out who's to blame.

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