Doctors and Morality February 9, 2007

Doctors and Morality

The initial sentence says it all:

A disturbing number of doctors do not feel obligated to tell patients about medical options they oppose morally, such as abortion and teen birth control, and believe they have no duty to refer people elsewhere for such treatments, researchers say.

I don’t mind the doctor not performing an operation he/she is morally opposed to if there is a qualified doctor who can perform the operation nearby. But too often, this is not the case. These doctors are as shameful as the pharmacists who decide to not dispense birth control pills.

I can’t understand why these people go into professions when they don’t want to perform the very actions their patients need from them. It’s one thing to have an educated opinion about whether or not a procedure is safe and in the best interest for the patient. It’s another thing when these doctors lie to their patients by essentially saying there’s nothing they can do for them… even though there are viable options.

The whole article reminded me of when I was in an Anatomy lab in med school. Some students walked out of the lab the first day when we were peeling the skin off our cadavers. They felt like they were doing something immoral and wrong and wanted nothing to do with it. They skipped plenty of other days in the lab as well. You just had to shake your head and worry about what type of doctors they would be one day.

Perhaps the Atheist Ethicist can add more to this discussion.

Incidentally, there’s a great website called MergerWatch that tracks hospitals that are going to be taken over by religious institutions. If you get a chance, read the Religious Restrictions page. Frightening stuff.

(Thanks to Logos for the link.)

[tags]atheist, atheism, abortion, birth control, pharmacist, Anatomy, medical school, MergerWatch, religion, Christianity, Atheist Ethicist[/tags]

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