The article which prompted this response can be viewed below or here:

The truth which this opinion piece exposes is deeply disturbing. However, what most people do not know is that doctors have been groomed to comply with what the government declares is “standard procedures” for decades.

I was shocked when in my first year in medicine, I was required to attend an ethics class where small groups of medical students met with philosophers and psychiatrists who led us in deep discussions about the very issues author Wesley J. Smith is bringing out in his article. The issues we discussed during these gatherings were abortions and “mercy killing.” We were presented cases and then polled to see who would comply with patients’ requests and who refused. The students who refused were grilled further and in some cases, were shamed especially when their reasons for refusing were based on religious beliefs or that what they were asked to do was morally repugnant to them. If we had objections that were based on those premises, we were grilled and put through the ringer. Sometimes our colleagues who did not see anything wrong with those “standard medical procedures,” would chime in. The classes lasted several hours. They could be fun. However, there was a sinister and dark thread running through each discussion that made me feel very uncomfortable. Even when I said that I would refer the patient to someone who performed those procedures, I was told that was not good enough—that it was unethical since the patient was made to pay for another office visit to go to another physician s/he did not know or trust like they did me.

I had considered OB/GYN as one of the areas I planned to seriously consider as a specialty. However, after that class, OB/GYN was off the table as far as I was concerned. I also decided to stay away from geriatrics.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I have been talking about the growing control medical establishment has on physicians. We are made to comply in every way—even if what we are asked to do wears on our consciences.

One of the concerning areas in medicine which seemed insignificant at first was that we MUST accept all insurance.

It seemed reasonable at the time but the insurance companies became increasingly controlling. They became the ones to determine whether the patient needed the surgery or the particular medication. When this first began, if we physicians wrote detailed letters explaining why the medication or the drug was necessary, we could get what we deemed necessary for the patient approved.

However, over the years, our nurses had to follow established routines which required them to spend hours on the phone in an attempt to get insurance approval. Even after that, physicians were required to speak to a (frequently) NON-MEDICAL person about what was necessary. And our requests were often denied. Since we had accepted affiliation with that particular insurance company, we (and the patient) had to comply with their decision.

And the demands and the restraints continued to increase over the years. Through medical protocols, physicians are mandated to use certain drugs. If we refuse to follow the standard protocols, we will be financially disciplined. If there is any adverse event in the patient’s health and we have not followed standard procedure, we might have NO defense at all—even if the patient requested that we try alternate therapy which through research showed that it was a viable option.

Even though I tried to help people prevent illness or stay off medications by doing alternative therapies proven to work, I had to follow-up with the patients closely to make sure they were following what I asked them to do and I had to keep checking back with them to make sure things were going well. Anytime they deviated from what I recommended, I had to let them know that even though they wanted to take this alternative route, if anything happened, I was forced to shoulder all the responsibility. That was because despite the patient’s request, I am required to recommend the standard procedure or else face the consequences. So whenever the patient did their own thing, I had to record the reason for deviation from the protocols. When the patient did not do exactly what I asked them to do, I had to recommend to them the standard protocol and when the patient refused, I had to record in their chart that I recommended the standard protocol to the patient and that they refused. These steps were necessary to protect me.

Practicing medicine is nowhere near what it was when I entered medical school. Several years ago, I began to feel fearful of a system that in my opinion had overstretched its authority. And I believe there will come a time to leave the field of medicine; that time will be when I am mandated to do “standard medical procedures that anyone medically trained and with an active medical license to practice medicine is required to do”—even if it goes against my personal beliefs or if, in my opinion, does the patient harm.