Saturday, April 03, 2010

It's Only Freedom Of Thought, Not Ethical Malpractice!

Ethics. The fine line between abiding by them and crossing over the line seems to be at issue with a urologist, a staunch Republican, who posted a sign on his practice suggesting you go elsewhere for your urological needs if you voted for Obama. If he were in any other profession than medical it would probably have gone unnoticed. But because he's a doctor who is upset with the health care reform, he's opened his situation to great scrutiny.

He is being accused of pushing the limit. Why? He hasn't turned anyone needing attention away nor does he question anyone about their politics. He's making a point. He's angry and frustrated and is letting it be known. I don't see that as being ethically challenged. I see him as a man as frustrated with the legislation as many of the rest of us.

According to the story, civil rights protections prevent patient discrimination. Well. Let's have a look at patient discrimination. Just last week I wrote of a conversation telling how local doctors will not see patients suffering chronic pain. Is that not unethical?

A subject that is near and dear to my heart is the number of doctors who will not take Medicare or Medicaid patients. Or only "some insurances". I understand the need for decent reimbursements for services in order to keep a practice up and running. I also understand that many patients have no choice as to what insurance, if any, they have.

I have always thought if one is to be a doctor there is an ethical obligation to treat a person in need no matter what. That's why doctors used to take chickens or eggs as payment when no cash was at hand.

In my own situation I've returned to a doctor who takes no insurance what-so-ever. I have to pay for his services out of my own pocket even though I have Medicare. Why did I take this step? Because he spends whatever time is necessary to talk through an issue before I leave his office. It doesn't matter if it takes five minutes or an hour.

The Medicare provider I had previously gave my 15 minutes tops and one topic. We never, in four years, spent time investigating the issue of my back. Oh sure, I was sent to specialist on occasion, but without thought as to which might best address the situation because the situation wasn't known! I couldn't get beyond high blood pressure and cholesterol. I can tell you where the high blood pressure came from!

With the millions of dollars slated to be cut from Medicare reimbursements, along with chunks of the program targeted for elimination, the government and ethicists should be looking at themselves rather than the doctors who will have their livings and, along with it, our care, slashed.

To me a sign on the doctor's door is a pretty sane method of expressing displeasure. If they think this is "pushing the limit" they have yet to talk to me!

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