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Christian ScienceA religious and healing doctrine established in 1879 by Mary Baker Eddy (1824–1910), Christian Science therapy for the sick consists of “heartfelt, yet disciplined prayer” by members of the Christian Science Church in lieu of drugs or measures used in mainstream medicine to alleviate pain.
Christian Science impact on medicine
• Christian Science parents may override a physician’s medical judgement in the care of minor children, with potentially fatal consequences.
• Christian Scientists are difficult to treat, especially as unconscious victims of trauma, as they may refuse therapy (e.g., blood transfusion) deemed appropriate by conventional medical standards; if such therapy is administered, the team may be charged with assault and battery.
• Religious exemption statutes may allow healers to perform their services without liability and at standards of practice at variance to those expected of physicians.
• Healing has been billed to insurance companies, Medicare or Medicaid.
• Longevity studies have shown that Christian Scientists have a shorter lifespan than age- and education-matched non-Christian Scientists, despite not smoking or drinking alcohol.
A system of religious teaching based on Christian Scientists' interpretation of Scripture, founded in 1866 by Mary Baker Eddy. The system emphasizes healing of disease by mental and spiritual means.