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Abdulla Al Sayyari, Fayez Hejaili and Faissal Shaheen

Discussions on bioethical issues within the Saudi society are a relatively new development. However, they have taken increasing importance over the last two decades. This accompanied the massive advances in medical care, the beginning of medical and biological research, the establishment of pharmaceutical companies and the exposure of society to international norms. By and large the driving forces of the need for bioethical discourses are the practical needs arising from these recent developments in our region rather than that being due to theoretical or academic investigation. In this article, we discuss issues related to the interaction between society and medical ethics in Saudi Arabia with particular reference to organ transplantation ethics.

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Saudi Patients and Health Care Providers

Divergent Perceptions of Illnesses and Their Symptoms

Mohamed Harakati, Faissal Shaheen, Hani Tamim, Saadi Taher, Adel Al. Qublan and Abdulla Al Sayyari

This cross-sectional survey study analyses the degree of concordance between Saudi patients and their nurses and physicians in four areas: (1) perceived causation of diseases and drivers of cure, (2) symptom ranking and perception, (3) views on social habits and traditional medicine, and (4) assessment of health care providers' empathy. The doctors and nurses were asked to predict their patients' responses to the survey. Significant divergence was found between the patients' responses and the health care providers' predictions. Cultural and background differences between the two groups, as well as a large educational gap, might account for this disparity. Such discordance could conceivably lead to wrong diagnoses being made, due to the different levels of importance that patients and doctors accord to symptoms.