Dr. Offit’s newest book, Bad Faith: When Religious Belief Undermines Modern Medicine, is now available through regular booksellers. The book addresses parents’ rights to make health decisions for their children when these decisions are based on religious beliefs and are detrimental to the child. Arguing that parents should not legally have the right to harm their children by withholding lifesaving treatments, Dr. Offit shares the stories of families whose experiences have come to light while leading readers through the pertinent legal, medical and religious considerations of the discussion.
Born from his work in vaccines, Dr. Offit’s interest began as one of exploring the basis for religious belief exemptions to vaccination. And, indeed, Dr. Offit describes the measles outbreak that affected Philadelphia in the early 1990s during which, for the only time in U.S. history, children from a religious group were held down and forcibly vaccinated against their parents’ will to stop the outbreak. However, the ideas as they relate to vaccines also more broadly apply across medicine. Bad Faith includes these experiences from other areas of medicine as well, concluding that it is incumbent upon all of us to protect those among us who cannot protect themselves – much as Jesus did.