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Should Medical Professionals Be Allowed to Choose Who They Help?

News 2011/02/21 16:05:50
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On Friday, the Obama administration, with the at least tacit blessing of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), scaled back a measure signed by the Bush administration in its last days.

The measure said that all health care workers could demur from participating in certain medical procedures, such as abortions, if they had a moral objection to the procedure.

Perhaps the “such as abortions” part of the Bush rule was what the Bush rule intended to address.

Perhaps not.

(Keep in mind, no one really knows what to call the signed document. While The Wall Street Journal calls it a “measure” or a “rule,” The Associated Press calls it a “regulation.” Although, if we’re taking suggestions, maybe it could be called a “Fantastical Magical Surprise,” because when you get to the O.R. and the doctor won’t do whatever you want him to do, in this fantasy, the cast of “Glee” pops out from behind a gurney and starts singing Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River.”)

Regardless, the idea was in place before Bush ever got around to it. Since the 1970s, there were rules and regulations that required and prevented medical professionals from being admonished for not providing certain care, e.g. abortions, to people if the procedure went against the medical professional’s morality.

As The Associated Press mentions, the Bush measure strengthened “those protections by adding a requirement that institutions that receive federal money certify their compliance with the so-called conscience laws, so that money could be cut off if the law wasn't being followed."

The Obama administration doesn’t disagree with that.

"The administration strongly supports provider conscience laws that protect and support the rights of health care providers, and also recognizes and supports the rights of patients,” HHS said in a statement. “Strong conscience laws make it clear that health care providers cannot be compelled to perform or assist in an abortion.”

Yet, there remains concern: Should those who chose to get into the field of helping others be allowed to choose which "others" they help?
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  • Michelle 2011/02/21 17:55:15
    No
    Michelle
    +22
    Because the question says "who" even though it starts to go off into procedures.

    Yes, I believe doctors should be able to refuse procedures against their moral values, such as abortions. However, they should have a paper on file that says which ones they object to and refuse to do to and only allow them to refuse the ones they've listed in advanced. And, of course, refusing requests if it isn't in the patient's best interest (asking for a liposuction without dieting, ect).

    However, a doctor shouldn't be allowed to choose WHO they help. That leaves so much room for discrimination that it's not even funny. "Oh, you're Muslim? Nope." "You're gay and dying? I'm Christian and against it. I'm outta here."

    To sum it up: Doctors should be able to choose WHAT they treat, but not WHO.

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  • rebekah.a.teel 2013/03/18 06:01:47
    Undecided
    rebekah.a.teel
    The question should not be who but what............on the who - no / on the what - yes
  • aherbert 2011/03/08 05:31:14
    No
    aherbert
    No ... medical professionals are hired to perform medical procedures. It like saying should a fire man put out a house fire that belong to a tea bagger/African American/Gay or white person? You have a job to perform regardless of your personal beliefs … just do your job.
  • KinnUzumaki 2011/03/04 23:31:21
    No
    KinnUzumaki
    nope
  • Jana~ una chica loca 2011/02/25 21:35:34
    No
    Jana~ una chica loca
    they have to help everyone
  • LoudMouthGirl13 2011/02/25 16:43:23
    No
    LoudMouthGirl13
    You become a doctor to help people,ALL people,not certain ones.
  • Nathan 2011/02/24 04:20:29
    No
    Nathan
    Their jobs aren't to judge and legislate morality upon their patients; it's to help them in any manner they can. My mom, a nurse, recently told me about a fellow nurse who was prepped for an abortion. They had asked my mom to help because one of the scheduled nurses declined to participate in the operation. My mother then proceeded to tell me how she almost had an abortion herself.
    Her point was that we can't always know what people go through to get to that point or why they need what they need. When they walk through those sliding doors, their only job is to help those in need not to morally judge others. If this was allowed, who would want to help AIDS patients, or fat people because they brought their problems upon themselves. Bit of a ramble hope I got my point across.
  • gingertwin2 2011/02/23 03:57:49
    Undecided
    gingertwin2
    . . . This question is very poorly worded . . .
  • bags 2011/02/23 03:27:27 (edited)
    No
    bags
    It's the Hippocratic Oath.... You don't want to treat all of mankind? We don't want to give you a license to practice.

    edit: listed the modern version of the Hippocratic Oath below.

    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 to 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 reme...





    It's the Hippocratic Oath.... You don't want to treat all of mankind? We don't want to give you a license to practice.

    edit: listed the modern version of the Hippocratic Oath below.

    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 to 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.
    (more)
  • Sharonk 2011/02/23 03:20:56
    Undecided
    Sharonk
    Once again we SodaHead presents a poorly worded question. The article was referring to procedures but the question is referring to the person asking for the procedure. I agree that medical professionals (of which I am one) should be allowed to choose not to perform any procedure that goes against their moral or professional sensibilities. I do not feel they have the right to choose who they will and will not do a procedure for. However, there may be some procedures that a physician may deem appropriate for one person and not for another based on their age or some other criteria which may impact the outcome.
  • Doc. J 2011/02/23 02:11:35
    Yes
    Doc. J
    +1
    If they have some moral objection to a specific PROCEDURE they can choose based on that, just refer the patiend along to another health care provider.

    But they may not choose WHO they will or won't help.
  • Tits ISHBAHFF McGee 2011/02/23 01:00:18
    Undecided
    Tits ISHBAHFF McGee
    I'm torn on this one.
  • David850 2011/02/22 22:26:41
    Yes
    David850
    When it involves moral issues; absolutely.
  • Nathan David850 2011/02/24 04:26:11
    Nathan
    +1
    So if a christian believes that being gay is morally reprehensible, then it's ok for the nurse/doctor not to treat them? You allow one group to be denied, more will follow. Also, just remember human beings don't think abortions are fun and enjoyable. It's not something a person takes lightly. If you watch fox news, you would think there are abortion parties!
  • David850 Nathan 2011/03/10 06:13:14
    David850
    As a Christian, I agree to treat fellow humans who are in need. That does not require that I assist in destroying a human life through commiting abortion.
  • American All The Way 2011/02/22 21:55:26
    No
    American All The Way
    NOPE, One of the classic creeds of medical schools - FIRST, DO NO HARM. Cobra laws were made to stop hospitals from dumping poor patients on another hospital even if the patient was serious. The law was refered to as an anti-dumping law. But neither do we need socialized medicine. If anyone has any clue about socialized medicine it would be worse than passing up a hospital because of ones net worth.
  • Scarlet 2011/02/22 21:49:18
    No
    Scarlet
    +1
    Your binman (or binwoman - your 'binperson' to keep the PC happy) doesn't get to decide what rubbish he takes & what he leaves. So why should your doctor choose who to help & who to abandon? Xx
  • tasha1989 2011/02/22 21:37:07
    No
    tasha1989
    +1
    If you have a certain job, you should do that job without prejudice.
  • Monster Claws 2011/02/22 21:22:50
    No
    Monster Claws
    +1
    they need help then they need help
  • Shadow-Fire 2011/02/22 20:28:00
    No
    Shadow-Fire
    It does not matter who the person is, if they are sick they need help. However, I do believe that a doctor should have the right to choose what they do. If it is against their moral or religious beliefs to give an abortion, they should not be forced to do it.
  • Arty 2011/02/22 20:09:24
    No
    Arty
    +1
    i SEE IT AS A VIOLATION OF THAT OATH I THOUGH ALL PRACTITIONERS WERE SUPPOSED TO HAVE TAKEN TO HELP ''EVERYONE''
  • Nicolas Van Drak 2011/02/22 19:55:22
    No
    Nicolas Van Drak
    +1
    Of course not... people are dieing out there is no time to think of whom to help...
  • i<3conanthebarbarian 2011/02/22 19:36:19
    No
    i<3conanthebarbarian
    no because they wuld only treat ppl who hav a lot
  • RepublicanMAde 2011/02/22 19:34:26
    No
    RepublicanMAde
    Bush was against Abortion obama is for helping who the government deemed worthy of helping i personally don't believe that and country health and human services office should cover abortions... To kill a child before it has a chance to live it's life the only time we should mess with a fetus is if it is deemed to be not right before it came out and give it the type of chromosomes and/or hormons to make it come out right...
  • Açorda 2011/02/22 19:16:24
    Yes
    Açorda
    When people sue the McDonalds for serving them, they are asking for McDonalds to choose not to serve to obese people. Then the doctors should be able to refuse if they want... it is in their right to do so, even if medicine ethics say it isn't cool. Imagine if someone gets there asking for a 100pound boob job, I'd refuse doing it.

    I'm Scruffy, the Janitor
  • Republi... Açorda 2011/02/22 19:35:56
    RepublicanMAde
    now that is a good reason to refuse but if someones life depended on it then oh hell no you wouldn't see a dr denying obama health care and that is to bad...
  • Liza Jane 2011/02/22 18:53:51
    No
    Liza Jane
    +2
    Nope; if you can't be a doctor you sure wasted a lot of money going to med school.
  • Cliff 2011/02/22 18:48:45
    Yes
    Cliff
    Other professionals can choose who they help. Why should doctors be any different?
  • ThomasSnouffer 2011/02/22 18:47:23
    Undecided
    ThomasSnouffer
    IMO, there is an ENORMOUS difference between Health Care providers being "Allowed to Choose Who They Help" and those same Health Care providers being allowed to REFUSE a procedure which is NOT immediately life-threatening to the PATIENT if NOT performed for moral reasons.

    I do not feel it would be "right" to mandate that plastic surgeons perform breast "enhancements" for exactly the same reason. NEITHER is a life-SAVING procedure.

    As I can never BECOME pregnant, my "view" on abortion is somewhat ambiguous. Even so, I feel mandating (a word that I think has VERY little "business" to do with ANY aspects of Health Care!) that ANY physician perform what is actually--whether you like it or not--an ELECTIVE procedure is no more correct than calling a mandate to PURCHASE insurance "health care".
  • Swany 2011/02/22 18:42:55 (edited)
    Undecided
    Swany
    Its fore the almighty dollar to decide who lives and who dies. Even the smartest doctor cannot change that.
  • Scarlet Swany 2011/02/22 21:50:54
    Scarlet
    Aye. Beautiful, ain't it Xx
  • Swany Scarlet 2011/02/22 21:57:38
    Swany
    +1
    Aye lass. The truth be a bitter thing at times.
  • Scarlet Swany 2011/02/22 22:04:18
    Scarlet
    +1
    Tell me about it Xx
  • Anna 2011/02/22 18:38:56
    Undecided
    Anna
    Only if they're using good judgement. Don't they already send you to a different doctor if they're too afraid to hurt you or are not smart enough??
  • Bronar 2011/02/22 17:32:52
    Yes
    Bronar
    The title to this post is off because the article is really discussing what procedures they will perform. If patient x needs an appendectamy (i don't care if my spelling is wrong) she should get one. If patient x want 44D tits the plastic surgeon should and as far as I know can tell say no, he won't do it.

    As for who the doctor has to serve, if an illegal immigrant walks into doctor x's office with a bad cold and has unpaid bills from previous visits and no insurance I feel the office should be allowed to turn the patient away.
  • Eppie 2011/02/22 17:22:49
    No
    Eppie
    Bummer would say yes. His health debacle picks winners and losers or in this case those who live and those who die.
  • LastRanger 2011/02/22 17:13:34
    Undecided
    LastRanger
    +1
    No.
    Everybody knows that's the government's job!
    :-)


    Analyst, Ph.D.
  • Tom 2011/02/22 17:00:11
    Yes
    Tom
    It's more a matter of how they help than who.
  • Forest 2011/02/22 16:56:49 (edited)
    Yes
    Forest
    Almost every store i have ever been in has a sign " We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone" Why dont medical practitioners have the same right? If a doctor has a personal stand on any issue, Why should they be forced to do something?
  • cmdrbnd007 2011/02/22 16:47:52
    Yes
    cmdrbnd007
    Of course they should. Who wants an a$$ for a patient? Just like a hair stylist can refuse to work on someone or a lawyer can refuse to take a client on so should a doctor be able to refuse to take on a patient. Now if a person goes to an ER then they all have to be treated but a doctor in private practice has the right to determine who he sees.
  • Lady Yui 2011/02/22 16:40:15
    Yes
    Lady Yui
    If a doctor or other health professional doesn't want to provide you with a service you want, they don't have to. That said, if a doctor IS willing to give you the service you want, then they shouldn't be prevented from doing so because the government says if they do then they'll get their funding cut off.
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