I don’t often delve into the depths of politics and things like that, but I feel compelled to share this article on the issue of mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds. I linked it earlier via Twitter, but since a lot of people reading my blog probably don’t do the whole Twitter thing, I wanted to post it here.
Two things I want to point out:
- The fact that the physician that wrote this piece felt the need to cloak his identity for fear of the repercussions speaks volumes on the state of medicine today. When every bonehead from Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi to Rush Limbaugh, Mitt Romney and now Santorum and Palin feel it is their right to dictate by fiat how practitioners practice and patients are treated, you know things have really gone off the rails.
- The silence from the American Medical Association on this is absolutely deafening. I have yet to read or hear of a position or response from the AMA – where are the appeals for physicians to only order procedures and treatments that are medically indicated? Why has the AMA been absolutely silent on an issue which rides so roughshod over such trivial notions as patient consent?
This second point bothers me a lot, the more I think about it. I cite now directly from the AMA code of ethics, section III:
A physician shall respect the law and also recognize a responsibility to seek changes in those requirements which are contrary to the best interests of the patient.
and section VIII
A physician shall, while caring for a patient, regard responsibility to the patient as paramount.
Whether a physician should deliberately break the law in question is something that is probably a matter of individual choice – personally, I would probably refuse to see such patients rather than commit a crime and potentially lose my medical license. I should point out that, interestingly, section III requires a respect for the law, not a blind adherence to it. Regardless, note that the second half of their statement is compulsory – the AMA has a self-imposed mandate to seek changes to legal requirements that are contrary to the interests of a patient. In what universe does the AMA, as the largest representative of MD and DO physicians not have a duty to act?
What is the American Medical Association doing to, in their words, move medicine forward? From their own mouths. Physician reimbursement. Repeal of the SGR. Lobbying for physician legislation. Not a single reference to patients in any way.
Cowards. If ever there were a time for the AMA to man the ramparts and stand up for their patients, that time is now.