The Duty to Run Interference

Author John Scalzi posted an essay on his blog, Whatever, from an unnamed friend who is a doctor. It discusses the recent furor over the political push for transvaginal ultrasounds mandated for political “need” rather than medical usefulness. The essay is well-worth reading. I wish to post an excerpt relevant to my purpose for Choose Intact because it involves a doctor’s responsibilities in medical intervention. The doctor is concise, specific, and irrefutable. The logic is as applicable here as it is in non-therapeutic transvaginal ultrasounds.

It is our responsibility, as always, to protect our patients from things that would harm them. Therefore, as physicians, it is our duty to refuse to perform a medical procedure that is not medically indicated. Any medical procedure. Whatever the pseudo-justification.

It’s time for a little old-fashioned civil disobedience.

And from the doctor’s proposed step two to protect patients from such legislation:

Our position is to recommend medically-indicated tests and treatments that have a favorable benefit-to-harm ratio… and it is up to the patient to decide what she will and will not allow. Period. Politicians do not have any role in this process. NO ONE has a role in this process but the patient and her physician. If anyone tries to get in the way of that, it is our duty to run interference.

An excellent summation of the physician’s responsibility to his/her patient.

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