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Debate! Physician Conscience Act

>> Thursday, September 18, 2008

I can't believe I didn't realize yesterday was Wednesday... well, a day late, but I am still going to rile your tail feathers. That is what Debate! is all about.

This weeks topic is about the Physicians Conscience Act. Now while it may sound all nice and dandy this could have possible repercussions on health care in America.

Here's the basic rundown: This act would allow anyone in the health care profession to use their own discretion and/or belief system to determine how they want to treat you. I found out this was STILL an issue (this came up years ago) on Bug Girl's Blog.

Now while this sounds sweet and respectful, it pretty much means that I could get refused to get written a prescription to birth control because the doctor is Catholic or a pharmacist could deny me my lithium because he doesn't believe in psychiatry. Now a lot of people on the more... erm... "religious" side of the debate state that this means we can't force doctors to perform abortions. Okay, great, that is one plus...I guess. I don't agree with this either, but hey. I am not here to pass judgment, I just like intellectually stimulating arguments and love to flex my debating muscles.

Read up on it. What do you think? Is it okay for a doctor to deny you treatment because he feels it is morally wrong? Do you think this will lead to doctors not treating people because they are Wicca, or whatever and that, to them, is also morally wrong? Where does this stop?


Anonymous September 18, 2008 at 1:01 PM  

You know I for one have always gotten upset when they try to mix one thing with the other. For ex: vinegar and oil. Or politics and religion. A doctor/pharmacist takes a vow to serve no matter who it is or what beliefs they have. If their beliefs are different there's a time and a place for it. If they are going to bring their beliefs in to a practice then let the patients know ahead of time, for example; when they make an appt or sit in the lobby waiting to be seen, a leaflet should be given so one doesn't waste our time which is also precious as their. I hope I am getting my point across. We live in a country where supposedly have freedom to choose. If I choose abortion or lithium as your example Mimi, they shouldn't intervene and just do their job. Evidently no one else has convinced me otherwise, so what makes them think they can convince someone by refusing their services. I will just take my business elswhere. To me they are wrong for trying to force someone their beliefs. Isn't that somewhere along the line of communisim?

Mimi September 18, 2008 at 1:24 PM  

@ the queen... more along the lines of fascism, not communism, but I get your point. My whole thing is, if you have an issue with these things, why not go into another profession? But alas, they are in it for the wrong reasons. Money. If we lived in a country where we didn't make as much being a medical professional (let them get paid what PhD's in Science get paid)Then we would get people who really do this job for the right reasons. They are out there. There are doctors without borders and free clinics, but these are few and far between.

Anonymous September 18, 2008 at 1:41 PM  

thank you Mimi I strongly agree. One should go in to a profession for the love of it not $$$. But we can't change that. What we can do is take our business elsewhere, freedom to choose :)

Mimi September 18, 2008 at 1:47 PM  

@ the queen... Exactly. Speak with your feet. I will just walk my money elsewhere. I feel really bad for people who live in highly religious small communities where there is only one druggist or a handful of doctors. These are the people that suffer the worse in cases like this. You live in a (very) big city so you have options.

Wendy September 18, 2008 at 8:44 PM  

As a nurse, I was taught that we had to treat anyone - anyone, who came to us for care.
Now I know there are people out there in the health care sector who judge their patients behaviour. Some physicians will not treat patients who are alcholics, if the patient doesn't stop drinking. Same for tobacco-related illnesses.
On the one hand, it's hard to see all your skill, time, and advice go down the drain if your patient doesn't follow your instructions (alcoholic still drinks, smoker still smokes), but on the other hand, doctors and nurses cannot play God.

So, I disagree with that "ACT". Treat your patient - don't judge them.

ScientistMother September 18, 2008 at 9:11 PM  

It is hard enough for patients to ask for treatment for many illnesses from depression to aids to abortion. After having found the strength come seek treatment to only be judged and denied because of the doctors belief is not just unfair but cruel and inhumane.

Mimi September 19, 2008 at 8:31 AM  

@ wendy... I know how hard it must be to see your efforts wasted, like a teacher watching their most gifted students drop out. It's true though, treat them don't judge them!

@ scientistmother... It is really hard to ask for ANY treatment with so much stigma attached. I can't believe that these medical "professionals" would be allowed to make someone feel worse about it. I have a hard enough time as it is accepting my "mental disorder." Even the classification of what it is sounds harsh! The last thing I need is to go to the people who are supposed to help me and have them make me feel worse!

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