As in-house copywriter for a large hospital, I interview patients and write about their ordeals for PR and marketing purposes. I am happy to say that the hospital’s branding is strictly secular; I can’t, for instance, quote a patient as saying, “Doctor X is truly a blessing,” nor can I say that “the hospital’s devotion to quality health care is exceptional.”
Nonetheless, almost every patient I interview ends up going on a 30-minute homily on how their having battled cancer or stroke or what-have-you was ultimately God’s doing, and would then ask me to pray for them as they face their last few sessions of chemo or their final MRI. At moments like these, of course, I just throw them a smile and get on with my questions.
My dream patient interview, then, would be with the very vocal atheist Christopher Hitchens, who has esopheagal cancer and is likely going to croak any second — but not without spewing a few hundred thoughts or so beforehand.
Fortunately he’s said enough in this recent Vanity Fair piece.