Patients Rights or Doctor's Morals? (1 Viewer)

Pure Energy

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Dr. Cynthia Jones-Nosacek... is part of an increasingly vocal group of Christian doctors who call themselves conscientious objectors. They refuse to provide abortions, sterilizations and contraception.

"I think a doctor should have the right not to be forced to practice medicine in a way that would go against their moral beliefs," Jones-Nosacek said.
In other cases, doctors have refused to remove ventilators or feeding tubes from terminally ill patients, and refused to prescribe Viagra to unmarried men.
http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=2662616&page=1
 

tomwaits

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who cares. You morans will give the feds whatever power they want, and they will allow doctors to do whatever as long as can do what they want to get them re-elected.

Most of you don't even care to vote. I thank you for that. stay home and eat instead of voting.
 
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Pure Energy

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who cares. You morans will give the feds whatever power they want, and they will allow doctors to do whatever as long as can do what they want to get them re-elected.

Most of you don't even care to vote. I thank you for that. stay home and eat instead of voting.
:interrogations: What was your point? Are you proud of yourself because you voted this past election?

This thread is about doctors who refuse to provide medical treatments that conflict with their moral beliefs.
 

BullDawg

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My question would not be centered on patient's rights (since they also have the right to find another doctor), but how it jives with the Hippocratic Oath.

<center>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, Geneva]Hippocratic Oath&#8212;Modern Version

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.

I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery.

I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.


Written in 1964 by Louis Lasagna, Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University, and used in many medical schools today.</center>
[/FONT]
 

Squeezebox

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How is it a big problem? I don't think anyone should force a doctor to do anything that to which he is morrally opposed, especially if these oppositions deal with genuine moral delimmas (abortion, euthanasia).

If you need Viagra (TPS) and your doc won't prescribe it, then you go to another doctor, no?
 

Taurus

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For whom do the doctors work? Private practice, or an HMO? If they're salaried employees of an HMO, they have no leg to stand on. You do what you are employed to do or find another job.

If in private practice, one would hope that they would put the health of their patient above a narrow moral code.
 

Squeezebox

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But don't you think that at least some leeway should be given in cases like abortion? When you have such a huge portion of the country that believes it to be wrong, it seems a bit unfair to see that all doctors should be forced to perform it, regardless of their moral beliefs.

I think things like birth control should be universal, so all doctors should practice that. But abortion is different, because those who think abortion is wrong believe that abortion = killing someone. If they honestly think that abortion = killing, then how can you expect them to perform one?

And it's not as if there are no good armguments for pro-life. I don't define any pro-lifer as having a "narrow moral code."
 
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Pure Energy

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If a Plastic Surgeon refused to do a Breast Augmentation for a stripper or a nose job for a movie star would they be within their rights? Clearly it's something the patient wants, the surgeon is capable of performing, but perhaps the surgeon only chooses to perform these procedures out of medical necessity--women who have had a radical mastectomy or treatment for a burn victim.

It's just an interesting dilema since most would probably think the doctor would provide any treatment they are capable of performing for the money. :hmmm:
 

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If a Plastic Surgeon refused to do a Breast Augmentation for a stripper or a nose job for a movie star would they be within their rights?
That happens all the time. A surgeon can refuse if they think the patient is having too much plastic surgery, or is getting it done for the wrong reasons.
 

Taurus

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Yup. Except in those cases, the doctor is basing his decision on what he thinks is best for the patient's health. IE: Too many plastic surgeries (or any truly unnecessary surgery) isn't healthy.

In the other cases, the doctor has abandoned the idea of what's right for the patient in favor of what feels good to the doctor.

If you're in the ER and they bring in a pregnant gunshot victim, you may have to decide to save the mother by aborting the fetus. Do you want your wife treated by a supposed "physician" who will stand aside and let both die because abortion is against their religion? (Extreme example, I know...we can hope it never comes to that.)

On the contraceptives bit...contraceptives are commonly prescribed for actual conditions, not just to prevent pregnancy. They help regulate some women's hormones, for instance and are one of the methods accepted when a female is taking Accutane or another teratogenic drug.

IMHO, the first, foremost and ultimately overriding concern of anyone who calls themselves a doctor should be the health and wellbeing of their patient. Yea verily, even above the tenets of their faith.
 

shane

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"IMHO, the first, foremost and ultimately overriding concern of anyone who calls themselves a doctor should be the health and wellbeing of their patient."

In the case of abortion, some doctors believe the baby or fetus to be the patient as well.
 

aj

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I'm not sure about all hospitals but many have a policy that any employee does not have to participate in care that they are opposed to - the employee has rights including doctors - many of the objections people are talking about rarely occur in an emergency setting - thus the patient has the option to see another doctor
 
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Pure Energy

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:hmmm:
Here's another one: What if research concludes better outcomes for patients when the surgeon prays for 5 minutes prior to the procedure?

If some surgeons disagreed with the concept of praying would they be within their rights not to pray before performing the surgery?
 

Rickboy

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Let's look at a few comparisons. Muslim cab drivers have been refusing to pickup anyone whose drunk. Never mind the fact that they could be saving that persons life by preventing him from driving. In Canada Muslims have refused to pickup blind people because they have a seeing eye dog with them. Muslims aren't supposed to associate with dogs.

In both of these cases the person doing the job has used their religious beliefs to keep from doing the job they chose to do. I think the common opinion is that if you choose to do a job then you are to do that job or find another one.

Here is where the question lies, however. IMHO, a Doctor can make the argument that performing an abortion is not only against his religious beliefs but is also against the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm. However I think they are on a lot shakier ground when it comes to refusing fertility treatments to gay couples. Still, some of these religious beliefs can be "interpreted" as being in line with the Hippocratic Oath. It will probably fall to the courts to determine where they cross the line.
 

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Louis Lasagna, eh?

I've tried to come up with some kind of violation of the Hippocratic Oath, given the examples mentioned in the article, but I can't come up with one. In fact, I can't bring myself to object to any of the examples given. None are "emergency situations" (although I suppose the morning after pill could be interpreted to have been an "emergency".... I'm not sure how time-sensitive that situation might be, but given that she was in a hospital, surely she didn't even have to leave the building to find someone who would write the scrip.)

Generally speaking, I'd agree with Taurus, but I just don't see how Taurus' point applies to any of the specific situations mentioned. Again, only one of the examples could even be argued to have been an "emergency." I could be wrong, but I would assume that these issues are addressed long before any E.R. doc is ever given a patient. Now, whether they're told "if you want to work here, you do not have the freedom to make these decisions" or they're accommodated and the schedule is kept so that there are other docs on duty who will provide these services, I don't know. Maybe different facilities have different policies on that. But I can't imagine that an E.R. wouldn't be well on top of these issues in advance of a situation coming up.

Abortions: Certainly can be an emergency, and obviously can be a matter of the patient's health, even life or death. But the article doesn't make it clear that these are part of what these doctors won't do. Could be that they only refuse elective abortions or abortions of "convenience." Could be that their practice doesn't put them into situations where they're charged with performing "necessary abortions" for the health or life of the mother. The article does not say that anyone has actively refused treatment and as a result has done harm to a patient.

Sterilizations: Is there such thing as an "emergency hysterectomy" where time is of the essence to preserve a woman's health? There might be, I don't know. But outside of that one situation (where, again, you'd assume that if that were the case, they'd be in a hospital with other doctors who could do the procedure) sterilizations are usually elective, and aren't time-sensitive, right?

Contraception: While Taurus is obviously right that contraceptives aren't always solely about contraception, there are other reasons a person might take them, again, it's not like the patient can't get the scrip from another doc. And I can't imagine any kind of time-sensitive "emergency contraception scrip" scenario.

Refusing to remove ventilator or feeding tube: I suppose it could be argued that if family members are staunchly insisting that the patient be "put out of [his/her] misery" and the doc refuses, then perhaps he's "doing harm" to those family members by "prolonging their grief" or whatever, and the Hippocratic Oath as posted by BullDawg seems to indicate that this is part of the doc's charge. So maybe there's an argument there. But again, surely another doc can be called in who does not object.

Viagra for an unmarried man: Please. Just reply to one of the 20 sp@m emails you've received in the last 20 minutes. An added benefit is that it'll be like 80% cheaper or something.

In no case is the doc, by objecting and refusing, causing the patient anything more than a slight inconvenience, as far as I can tell. And like I said before, while generally I tend to lean toward Taurus' position, in cases where it's the doctor's beliefs/morals/convictions/whatever... even ones based on religion... vs. something as minor as the inconvenience of having to seek the service elsewhere, I'm going to have to come down on the side of deeply-held beliefs trumping the slight inconvenience.

Pure Energy said:
Here's another one: What if research concludes better outcomes for patients when the surgeon prays for 5 minutes prior to the procedure?

If some surgeons disagreed with the concept of praying would they be within their rights not to pray before performing the surgery?
Specious reasoning. I just snapped my fingers and rubbed my head. I did not get attacked by a wild boar. I bet if I did the same thing 100 more times, I would not get attacked by a wild boar. Ergo, snapping ones fingers and rubbing one's head keeps wild boars from attacking.

The "conclusions" of that kind of "research" are meaningless and just silly. You could do the same kind of research and conclude that wearing a certain brand of shoes, or spinning in a circle three times and then doing a backflip, or reciting the lyrics to When the Saints Go Marching In affects the outcomes of sugeries. Surgeons should certainly be allowed their pre-surgery rituals if it helps them, but to ask everyone to adopt any pre-surgery ritual is both rediculas and ludacris.
 
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