A recent story in the news and the discussions that followed between the Twitterati made me think; should we as doctors share our personal views and beliefs with our patients? And would sharing these beliefs bring us closer or divide us?
The article in question was the one about a family GP who refused to refer a patient for a TOP because the wanted a boy and not a girl (it may have been the other way round, I have a short attention span) and now faces potential action from AHPRA.
As a Christian, I have certain views on TOP’s and have often shared these with my patients. I have however, never allowed these beliefs to challenge my patients decision. Should I?
At church we are working through a study course called “Not a fan” which challenges us with the question whether we are “fans” or “followers” of Jesus, with the difference between the two, the level of personal commitment. One of the very challenging questions this week was “…when last did following Jesus cost you anything and what was that cost…?”.
Now that brings me back to the question, if I say that I am a truly committed Christian, should my beliefs not dictate my actions even if that costs me a reprimand from AHPRA? How many times do we as doctors simply keep quite about issues just because we are governed by some form of ethic bureaucracy? I can certainly think of a number of very current issues in my practice:
- The 14yr old coming in with her mother and asking for oral contraception.
- The husband returning from his “business trip” in Asia with a STI.
- Termination of pregnancy.
Now I am not saying for one moment that everyone should have the same beliefs, the question I ask is this: How often do we as doctors keep quite about an issue simply because a patient has rights and we are fearful of potential repercussions through litigation or regulating authorities?
Let me know what you think.