A Practical Approach to the Family That Expects a Miracle


Abstract:  When a patient is extremely ill and/or dying, and the family expects a miraculous recovery, this situation can be very challenging to physicians, particularly when there is certainty that the miracle will occur through divine intervention. A practical approach is therefore provided to clinicians for engaging families that anticipate the miraculous healing of a sick patient. This strategy involves exploring the meaning and significance of a miracle, providing a balanced, nonargumentative response and negotiation of patient-centered compromises, while conveying respect for patient spirituality and practicing good medicine. Such an approach, tailored to the specifics of each family, can be effective in helping a family come to a place of acceptance about the impending death of their loved one.


American College of CHEST Physicians


CHEST 2009; 135:1643–1647

Resource Type:

Journal Article


Horace M. DeLisser, MD

Date of Resource:

June 2009