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Doctors firing patients

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libertygrl
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Posted 02/15/12 - 6:16 PM:
Subject: Doctors firing patients
I've heard some express discomfort with the idea that doctors can fire their patients for not heeding their advice. What do you think?

online.wsj.com/article/SB10...804577209230884246636.html
Monk2400
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Posted 02/15/12 - 8:30 PM:

First of all, doctors can't 'fire' patients. There is no contract between doctors and patients that is subject to any terms whatsoever.

That said, in a free market, doctors are perfectly at liberty to refuse to see anyone they choose. Certainly refusing service to people who disagree as to the fundamental nature of the service that might be provided seems a reasonable ground. And parents are perfectly at liberty to seek out health care providers that reflect their own belief systems.

OTOH, in a system with universal health care, this situation is impossible and abhorrent. That is, no doctor should be able to refuse treatment to a patient, whatever philosophical differences they may have. In fact, in this situation, patients should be able to freely refuse any type of care that they want and not have it forced upon them.

But consider this. Should a doctor be able to refuse a fat patient service because they refuse to go on a diet? Or a smoker service because they refuse to quit smoking? Or...add any example of a practice that might have health risks associated with it that may run counter to the advice given by a doctor. If this were the case, I reckon doctors would soon be right out of business.

8)
libertygrl
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Posted 02/16/12 - 12:18 PM:

Well, I'm not sure how it is in other countries, but here in the US there is a somewhat common problem of people trying to sue doctors - sometimes legitimately, sometimes frivolously - but in either case, frequently enough that docs feel the need to protect themselves in a liability sense if a patient refuses to heed their advice.

For example, let's say an epileptic person decides not to take their seizure meds anymore. Then they have a car accident, leaving them seriously injured. Looking for someone to blame, they sue the doctor saying the doc did not make it sufficiently clear how serious it was not to take the meds. However, the doctor did it make it abundantly clear and the patient chose to ignore the advice. This is why doctors find themselves trying to protect themselves from litigious patients by formally discharging them from their care, usually with a certified letter stating the reason.

As it points out in the link, there are also doctors who are concerned about unvaccinated children bringing deadly contagions to their waiting room.

My feeling on it is that doctors should be able to formally discharge their patients if doing so will protect them from an unfair lawsuit from that patient. Doctors who do it willy nilly and without a defensible reason will surely ruin their own business.

My sister was telling me yesterday that some pharmacies are refusing to dispense birth control and other prescribed medications on the basis of religious or ideological beliefs. This, I think is wrong. Sometimes birth control pills prescribed for serious health/hormonal problems and has nothing to do with contraception. It is not for the pharmacist to decide whether the prescription is legit. I think the law should mandate that pharmacies dispense any prescribed medication without discrimination.

Monk wrote:
OTOH, in a system with universal health care, this situation is impossible and abhorrent. That is, no doctor should be able to refuse treatment to a patient, whatever philosophical differences they may have. In fact, in this situation, patients should be able to freely refuse any type of care that they want and not have it forced upon them.

My feeling on this is that both free market health care and universal health care should be offered to citizens in a civilized society. Frivolous lawsuits against government subsidized health care are far less frequent. Gold diggers like aiming for doctors (and other targets, like big companies) that they think will settle easily out of court in order to preserve their reputation. This kind of strategy does not quite work as well in trying to attack government programs.
thedoc
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Posted 02/16/12 - 2:23 PM:

Monk2400 wrote:

But consider this. Should a doctor be able to refuse a fat patient service because they refuse to go on a diet? Or a smoker service because they refuse to quit smoking? Or...add any example of a practice that might have health risks associated with it that may run counter to the advice given by a doctor. If this were the case, I reckon doctors would soon be right out of business.

8)



One this one point I would say that refusing treatment is not the prefered course of action, but I would suggest that the cost of that treatment be layed on the patient. If a person has lung problems directly related to smoking, and refuses to quit or even to try to quit, the cost is their's. After all if they die how are you going to collect the bill.
Morgena
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Posted 02/17/12 - 10:56 AM:

Well, I saw an interview from a Homeopath, where he warned people from vaccinations, because many of them containing mercury as a preservative.

Sure the Pharma industry would do everything to convince people to use their vaccine, but only fewer people will be allowed to have critical questions about it.

It is as if to say what was done the last 50 years can’t be wrong for the ext 50 years.
A friend of mine had been given a vaccine as an infant, unfortunately the doctor didn’t carefully examine his condition, and today he is spastic paralysed.
libertygrl
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Posted 02/17/12 - 11:50 AM:

I don't think people should be forced to have vaccinations, I think they should have the right to choose.
smokinpristiformis
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Posted 02/17/12 - 12:26 PM:

sueing doctors is so anglo-saxon. sticking out tongue

I think it's quite rare around here. smiling face
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