Paging God: Religion in the Halls of Medicine

Publication Date: January 16, 2013. Press release.
See schedule of book talks.
Read the preface and first chapter.

While the modern science of medicine often seems nothing short of miraculous, religion still plays an important role in the past and present of many hospitals. When three-quarters of Americans believe that God can cure people who have been given little or no chance of survival by their doctors, how do today’s technologically sophisticated health care organizations address spirituality and faith?

This book takes readers inside major academic medical institutions to explore how today’s doctors and hospitals address prayer and other forms of religion and spirituality.  From chapels to intensive care units to the morgue, nurses, doctors, chaplains and other caregivers speak directly in these pages about how religion is part of their daily work in visible and invisible ways. This book shifts attention from ongoing controversy about whether faith and spirituality should play a role in health care to the many ways these powerful forces already function in healthcare today. Paging God is important for healthcare providers, religious leaders, and anyone who has or will receive care in modern hospitals.

Charles Rosenberg | Harvard University:

"We tend to see the hospital as a temple to the gods of technology, professionalism, and bureaucracy. Paging God looks at the human and emotional texture of lives lived—and lost—in the hospital....This book should be of interest to anyone interested in the felt reality of health care in the twenty-first century." 

Harold Koenig, MD | Center for Spirituality, Theology & Health,
Duke University Medical Center:

“In Paging God, Wendy Cadge opens a window into faith as experienced by hospital caregivers, presenting the narratives of nurses, chaplains, physicians, and other members of the hospital team as they care for people of diverse religious traditions. Fascinating and illuminating, this book is a revelation.” 

Farr Curlin, MD | Program on Medicine and Religion,
University of Chicago Medical Center:

"In this remarkable book, Wendy Cadge recounts the curious history of hospital chaplaincy care. With a tenor of measured appreciation, she marks out the unmistakable good that chaplains do...At the same time she holds up a mirror in which the field of chaplaincy can take a long look and ask whether it has become something other than what it set out to be."

Renée C. Fox | author of The Sociology of Medicine:
A Participant Observer’s View
:

“Drawing both on historical materials and on her rich first-hand field data, Wendy Cadge reveals how pervasive diverse forms of religion and spirituality are among patients and their families—and among caregivers inside American hospitals....Perceptive and penetrating, Paging God is an absorbing, creative, and illuminating book that has ramifying import.”