Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Responding to the Clinicians and Conscience Study

The New York Times has published an editorial in response to the study summarized here last week that found some physicians would withhold treatment, referrals, and information from patients when they had personal objections to certain legal procedures. In part, the editorial states:

"Although the close-mouthed doctors claim a right to follow their consciences, they are grievously failing their patients and seem to have forgotten the age-old admonition to “do no harm"...The researchers put the burden on patients to question their doctors upfront to learn where they stand before a crisis develops. But that lets doctors off the hook. Physicians have a right to shun practices they judge immoral, but they have no right to withhold important information from their patients. Any doctors who cannot talk to patients about legally permitted care because it conflicts with their values should give up the practice of medicine."

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