Thursday, February 22, 2007

Doctors chastized for being moral

The tone of this article assumes that contraception, abortion, and euthanasia are positive medical advancements and that religious doctors are "bad" for objecting to, and not promoting their use. The freedom of all Americans are being whittled away, not by the Homeland Security Act, but by our politically correct culture.
No mistake about it, the left wants to remove God from the public, as well as the private sphere. Note the message that unless a physician is willing to act against his own conscious, he should not be employed in certain specialties. How have we come from "do no harm" to "unless you are complicit in the culture of death you have no right to practice medicine"? If a man cannot practice Christianity and his profession, then what religious freedom do any of us have?
"Nearly 100 million Americans are at risk of being denied "legal medical interventions" by religious doctors, according to a feature article in the New England Journal of Medicine. In the light of numerous news stories about health care workers who have refused to dispense contraceptives and editorials in leading clinical journals, doctors from the University of Chicago polled about 2,000 of their colleagues to assess the scale of the problem.
They found that it was big -- and implied that it was quite scary. About 14% of patients, more than 40 million Americans, may be cared for by doctors who do not feel obliged to disclose information about treatments which they object to. And 29%, or nearly 100 million, may be cared for by doctors who will not refer to other doctors for morally controversial practices such as "terminal sedation" (sometimes described as euthanasia), abortion and providing teenagers with contraceptives without parental consent. Since 52% of doctors objected to abortion for failed contraception and 42% to contraception without parental consent, the authors feel that patients should be worried.
The study also found that male doctors with religious convictions are the least likely to endorse full disclosure of their prejudices and referral to more compliant colleagues. "Thus, those physicians who are most likely to be asked to act against their consciences are the ones who are most likely to say that physicians should not have to do so," say the authors.
The study shows that "a lot of physicians out there... are not, in fact, doing the right thing," commented David Magnus, a Stanford bioethicist. He said that since emergency contraception is considered standard care in ER, doctors who are opposed should avoid working there. Many doctors may have solved the dilemma by acting against their conscience. The lead author of the study, Farr Curlin, says that although doctors tend to be slightly more religious than the public, they are much less likely to carry their beliefs into their workplace, with 58% saying that they do, compared with 78% of the public.
The issue of conscientious objection for health care workers also troubles the Vatican . The Pontifical Academy for Life will host a conference on the topic later this week in Rome , with speakers from the US , Australia , England and France , amongst others." ~ NEJM, Feb 8


scmom said...

This issue goes both ways--I went to an ob/gyn for six years before I found out she volunteered for Planned Parenthood. She certainly never "informed me" that when she wasn't treating pregnant women she was doing abortions.

And the only "legal medical interventions" being denied are methods that involve murder.

This is frightening.

Catholic Mom said...

This dilemma was part of the equation that led me to give up the clinical practice of medicine. I had to keep moving to follow my husband's Air Force career so I was always a doctor working for someone else. By the eighth move and eighth state license it became increasingly difficult for me as a family physician to find a clinic or practice where I wouldn't have to dispense contraception, do evaluations for abortion, prescribe the "morning after" pill. Couple that with wanting to be a Mom to my four kids and it was time to retire.