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Subject: It begins: Doctor refuses treatment of same-sex couple's baby rss

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Donald
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Yes, based on the doctor's religious beliefs. I have to wonder what would have happened if it was an emergency? Or if the doctor was the only one around for 30 miles?

http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/28142401/doctor-refuses-tr...
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Damian
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If homosexuals can get health care you're just going to encourage them to keep being gay.

Also, I'm not sure how this statement is compatible with itself: the American Medical Association says physicians cannot refuse to care for patients based on sexual orientation, but doctors can refuse treatment if it's incompatible with their personal, religious or moral beliefs.

I can only assume those guidelines are supposed to mean they can refuse a specific treatment that's incompatible with their beliefs, like performing an abortion. Otherwise it's contradictory.
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Jon Badolato
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I just spotted this too and was about to post on it until I saw your post. This is sickening.

Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act does not ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, though the ethics rules of the AMA and American Academy of Pediatrics do.

I do hope she faces an ethics probe by either of these organizations or both.
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C Bazler
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damiangerous wrote:
If homosexuals can get health care you're just going to encourage them to keep being gay.

Also, I'm not sure how this statement is compatible with itself: the American Medical Association says physicians cannot refuse to care for patients based on sexual orientation, but doctors can refuse treatment if it's incompatible with their personal, religious or moral beliefs.

I can only assume those guidelines are supposed to mean they can refuse a specific treatment that's incompatible with their beliefs, like performing an abortion. Otherwise it's contradictory.


It's like the wedding cake. They aren't required to provide a medical treatment that they don't agree with/believe in, but are not allowed to give a treatment to one person but not the identical treatment to another based on that person's sexual orientation.

You know, I didn't really care about the cake, but this shit's beyond the pale.
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Paul W
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I think the cake and medical treatment are different qualitatively as well, not simply in the severity of the implications...I think that refusing treatment in a case like this that has no creative element or speech of any form behind is not justified nor does it demand the protection of law.
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Chad Ellis
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In a strange way, this isn't as bad as the whole cake thing.

Arguably the doctor should grow up and be able to maintain professionalism, but her rationale (in the letter she sent the couple) was that she didn't feel she'd be able to develop the kind of doctor-patient relationship that she would want to have.

If I went to a therapist and he or she couldn't deal with me being bisexual, then I'd want that therapist to acknowledge that and recognize that he or she couldn't be a good therapist. It sounds from her letter like it's at least possible that that's what's going on here -- that after the initial consult she realized that she wouldn't be able to do her job, but had no contact information to tell the moms until they came in.

Of course, that's a very generous interpretation of events…the kind that pisses off my wife to no end. But for all that homophobia usually just means aversion or bias or dislike there are people who really can't be comfortable in the company of openly gay people, especially a gay couple. It's not impressive, to say the least, but I feel more pity than anger towards them. Maybe she's like that.
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Ken
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
If I went to a therapist and he or she couldn't deal with me being bisexual, then I'd want that therapist to acknowledge that and recognize that he or she couldn't be a good therapist.


OK, but this isn't a therapist. It's a pediatrician. And I don't understand how it is that:

1. Denying taking the kid on as a patient is in any way related to the sexual orientation of the parents.

2. How being a lesbian couple would interfere with forming a relationship. Does she have a problem forming relationships with patients who have children out of wedlock? Due to adultery? Who get divorced? Who get divorced because they figured out they were lesbians?

I don't know that what the doctor did is homophobia - that word gets used too much. But it sure strikes me as a bad decision whether it was legal or not.
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Ken
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fizzmore wrote:
I think the cake and medical treatment are different qualitatively as well, not simply in the severity of the implications...I think that refusing treatment in a case like this that has no creative element or speech of any form behind is not justified nor does it demand the protection of law.


I think you're splitting hairs, and perhaps not well. I'd argue that the doctor has far more of a case than the baker because the involvement is on-going, the child will be raised by a couple living a lifestyle she doesn't approve of, and she'll have to interact with them on a regular basis to see to the well-being of the child.

Creative differences strike me as having more to do with "No, I won't make you a cake shaped like an enormous penis." I can even see a baker saying "Look, I'll make the cake and give you addresses and web sites for places you can buy decorations for it yourself, but I won't decorate it for a wedding I can't condone." And I agree that those types of decisions should be under the control of the merchant/individual.

I don't agree with the doctor's decision, and I'm very glad this couple lives in an area where they have a good number of them to choose from.
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Paul W
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The cake issue has been discussed exhaustively elsewhere, with my contributions in at least one thread (indeed, the "we won't decorate this for you" solution has been deemed unacceptable, which is a major sticking point). I'm not going to get into here, I was simply pointing out a reason why one would not expect the two scenarios to result in the same conclusion.
 
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Josh
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galad2003 wrote:
She should have just lied and said she was not taking on new patients.


She had already met with them and made an appointment with them. So she was kind of out of luck there.
 
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Kevin Salch
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Sure the doctor did not handle it well. However, she did arrange for another doctor. Treatment was offered. So does the medical treatment need to be provided by this doctor?
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Donald
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costguy wrote:
So does the medical treatment need to be provided by this doctor?


In this case? No, it worked OK for the baby. Do you think this will be the only instance of this happening? Or that all future cases will work out as well as this one?

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Kevin Salch
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Donald wrote:
costguy wrote:
So does the medical treatment need to be provided by this doctor?


In this case? No, it worked OK for the baby. Do you think this will be the only instance of this happening? Or that all future cases will work out as well as this one?

I would hope it would turn out better.
 
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Donald
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costguy wrote:


I would hope it would turn out better.


And I hope it is an isolated incident and never comes up again. Get use to disappointment.

 
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Derry Salewski
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How'd they find out the baby was gay?
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I was raised Christian so this makes perfect sense to me - if someone doesn't agree with you about everything, you make sure you let them know that you don't care if their kids die. It's from the book of Paul, "for the Lord saith to his disciples, if thy neighbor doth disagree with you, fuck him."
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T. Nomad
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I'm not sure refusing to give grounds for such decisions is workable. For example, when the doctor in question applies for a renewal of his/her license to practice, surely the state medical association can't just refuse. I imagine they'd have to qualify that refusal with "because you're a fucking bigot and an embarrassment to the profession."
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Tom McPhee
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This is ridiculous imho. I happen to have a fair number of views that conflict immensely with religious beliefs, but I still treat my religious patients and have even, shock horror, advised them to seek advice from a religious person if a concern in that domain arises. On occasion a minister or priest has been a valuable therapeutic ally of mine (e.g. In encouraging psychotic people to take treatment that helps). On occasion I have had patients struggling with issues antithetical to their religious background, e.g. Homosexual Mormon or Jehovah's witness... In such cases I suppress my natural response which is to tell them to jettison the religion and accept themselves for who they are- and simply listen, and give them space to explore their own thoughts and Let them make reach their own conclusion.

This paediatrician could be said to be very good in some ways though. There's a reason I abandoned forensic psychiatry as a career- it was unusual for me to like the patients (for a large number of them, once you stripped away the mental illness component, they were simply nasty unpleasant people). But I think the relationship a psychiatrist has with a patient is a bit different from a paediatrician. It could be argued however that at least she can't unconsciously "act out" her dislike of the parents of this child.
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Chad Ellis
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perfalbion wrote:
Chad_Ellis wrote:
If I went to a therapist and he or she couldn't deal with me being bisexual, then I'd want that therapist to acknowledge that and recognize that he or she couldn't be a good therapist.


OK, but this isn't a therapist. It's a pediatrician. And I don't understand how it is that:

1. Denying taking the kid on as a patient is in any way related to the sexual orientation of the parents.

2. How being a lesbian couple would interfere with forming a relationship. Does she have a problem forming relationships with patients who have children out of wedlock? Due to adultery? Who get divorced? Who get divorced because they figured out they were lesbians?

I don't know that what the doctor did is homophobia - that word gets used too much. But it sure strikes me as a bad decision whether it was legal or not.


We've had a few pediatritions. The best ones prioritize having a good relationship with us, and they have gained insights about our daughters' health through that relationship. I can't really respect any reasons I can think of for why the doctor couldn't get over her feelings and be professional, but if we take as a premise that she honestly believes she can't then I could see her concluding that she couldn't be a good doctor for their child.

Look, it's a stretch. But I've seen stranger. The cake thing seems to me to be a self-righteous "I won't have any part in your deviancy" attitude, where she expresses sympathy and regret and at least makes a shot at empathy.

If you told me five years from now that either the doctor or Melissa had a change of heart and now embraces gay families I would bet it was the doctor.
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Boaty McBoatface
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Donald wrote:
Yes, based on the doctor's religious beliefs. I have to wonder what would have happened if it was an emergency? Or if the doctor was the only one around for 30 miles?

http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/28142401/doctor-refuses-tr...
This has to be a joke, really.

I cannot believe that any one in a civilized western county can be this medieval.

If it is true they should be struck off.
 
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Boaty McBoatface
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Alaren wrote:
cbazler wrote:
It's like the wedding cake. They aren't required to provide a medical treatment that they don't agree with/believe in, but are not allowed to give a treatment to one person but not the identical treatment to another based on that person's sexual orientation.

You know, I didn't really care about the cake, but this shit's beyond the pale.


It's not like the wedding cake at all. This doctor was not being asked to participate in a ceremony that was against her religious beliefs. She was being asked to provide services for a child.

If this were something other than a checkup--an emergency treatment, say--I would want the doctor's license revoked, end of story. But then again, in such a situation, I have no particular reason to suppose that the doctor would refuse care.

In this particular case, where we're talking about trying to establish a long-term relationship dealing with the child's well-being in a personal and private way, I would prefer the doctor be able to say something like "I disagree sufficiently with your lifestyle that I may not be the best doctor for you" without fear of legal reprisal. But depending on how many alternatives were available (in this practice or in the town where they live) I would also want the doctor to add, "but I will certainly give you and your child the best care I can--I just want to give full disclosure from the outset."

In any event I'm not sure how passing more laws on the matter would be helpful. But given the current political climate I am increasingly inclined to think it would be good legal advice to always refrain from ever giving reasons for a refusal to do business, and to never, ever answer the question "why?"

Which in pure policy terms is not, I think, progress. But it is where progress has gotten us.
Given I am sure we were assured that this sort of thing would never happen., I am not sure you can say with any confidence it will not go further.

 
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Josh
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
perfalbion wrote:
Chad_Ellis wrote:
If I went to a therapist and he or she couldn't deal with me being bisexual, then I'd want that therapist to acknowledge that and recognize that he or she couldn't be a good therapist.


OK, but this isn't a therapist. It's a pediatrician. And I don't understand how it is that:

1. Denying taking the kid on as a patient is in any way related to the sexual orientation of the parents.

2. How being a lesbian couple would interfere with forming a relationship. Does she have a problem forming relationships with patients who have children out of wedlock? Due to adultery? Who get divorced? Who get divorced because they figured out they were lesbians?

I don't know that what the doctor did is homophobia - that word gets used too much. But it sure strikes me as a bad decision whether it was legal or not.


We've had a few pediatritions. The best ones prioritize having a good relationship with us, and they have gained insights about our daughters' health through that relationship. I can't really respect any reasons I can think of for why the doctor couldn't get over her feelings and be professional, but if we take as a premise that she honestly believes she can't then I could see her concluding that she couldn't be a good doctor for their child.

Look, it's a stretch. But I've seen stranger. The cake thing seems to me to be a self-righteous "I won't have any part in your deviancy" attitude, where she expresses sympathy and regret and at least makes a shot at empathy.

If you told me five years from now that either the doctor or Melissa had a change of heart and now embraces gay families I would bet it was the doctor.


I could almost see it your way, in fact a lot of it makes sense excepting that the doctor specifically avoided being even in the office on the day of the couple's visit to avoid meeting them. Basic human psychology, that's a fear reaction. She was afraid and embarrassed to interact with them, people she had already interacted with. The only change in their relationship was her refusal to treat their child. This smacks of Guilt. You don't get guilt from a divinely inspired or deeply held core conviction. You get guilt when you know you're doing something crappy ad not being a good person, much less a good christian.

If she had problems the doctor should have met with the couple, treated the patient, and explained her feelings in person or even AFTER the appointment in writing. She would have been respecting them as individuals, upholding her duty as a doctor, and still able to express her beliefs and attempt to reach an amicable solution.

I'm not trying to label this doctor as some hateful demonic bigot. I'm calling her actions craven, selfish, and irresponsible. It doesn't rise to the level of bad person forever, but I'd say it does make 'you behaved poorly and deserve some form of sanction as it was related to your profession and your public interactions with others.' That sanction could simply take the form of public shame based off the circulation of the story, or even something as simple as a 'slap on the wrist' warning from the AMA. It'd be a good 'we do not support you using our guidelines this way' message from them to other doctors, it wouldn't irreparably damage her ability to make a livelihood, and might just cause her to pray a little bit more and find some inner strength to be a better person.
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J
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Shadrach wrote:
I could almost see it your way, in fact a lot of it makes sense excepting that the doctor specifically avoided being even in the office on the day of the couple's visit to avoid meeting them. Basic human psychology, that's a fear reaction. She was afraid and embarrassed to interact with them, people she had already interacted with. The only change in their relationship was her refusal to treat their child. This smacks of Guilt. You don't get guilt from a divinely inspired or deeply held core conviction. You get guilt when you know you're doing something crappy ad not being a good person, much less a good christian.


If there's one thing I've learned as a mediator it's to be cautious about inferences like this. I can think of a lot of explanations for why she wasn't there that morning that don't involve her thinking she was doing the wrong thing. She might have anticipated that it would be uncomfortable for the couple if she were there, she might have thought that her being there would lead to a confrontation or argument, she might have genuine homophobia that she held together in the first consult but that she panicked about later. She might also have been out of the office for reasons that had nothing to do with them -- and between her telling the other doctor, him telling the couple, the couple telling the journalist and the journalist writing it down -- that got distorted.

After business school I was living in a two-bedroom apartment with a roommate. Then she got a job overseas and offered the place to her friend. Shortly after her friend agreed to move in, my (long distance) girlfriend, her girlfriend and I formed a triad and the two of them were planning to come visit me. I figured I should tell my about-to-be roommate about this so she wasn't blindsided and she took it in stride, saying something like, "Hey, everyone should do what makes them happy."

The next day she came to me and was totally freaking out. She acted like I'd told her I was converting the apartment into a sex dungeon and had asked her to be in charge of sex toys. She was so uncomfortable about the whole situation that no accommodation was possible and after a few days of sheer panic (during which she slept in the living room because being on the same floor with me was totally unsafe) she cancelled plans to move in.

The point is that I would never have guessed from her initial reaction that she was even uncomfortable about the visit, let alone that it would make her totally lose her shit. This doctor might have just met her first openly gay couple and gone into auto-pilot but then been so freaked out that she felt she had to stay away.

We just don't know.

Back in undergrad I took a Shakespeare class from a professor who was particularly interested in homo-erotic themes in Shakespeare. One of the guys in the class commented on this to me and asked why I thought he focused so much on it. I answered that he was gay and so he probably had a personal interest in it...and my classmate looked like I'd pulled a gun on him. Suddenly he was petrified because he had a meeting scheduled in the professor's office and the knowledge that he would be alone with a gay man was something he couldn't process.

People react in strange ways, sometimes.


Quote:
If she had problems the doctor should have met with the couple, treated the patient, and explained her feelings in person or even AFTER the appointment in writing. She would have been respecting them as individuals, upholding her duty as a doctor, and still able to express her beliefs and attempt to reach an amicable solution.


Of course. I'm not saying there's an interpretation that puts her in a great light. But depending on her reaction, meeting the couple and treating the baby might not have been possible, or at the very least might have been problematic. If her emotions were running high enough that her hands were shaking then handling the baby might not be such a good idea. Also, someone in her practice might have said, "It would be best if you're not here when they come in."

Quote:
I'm not trying to label this doctor as some hateful demonic bigot. I'm calling her actions craven, selfish, and irresponsible. It doesn't rise to the level of bad person forever, but I'd say it does make 'you behaved poorly and deserve some form of sanction as it was related to your profession and your public interactions with others.' That sanction could simply take the form of public shame based off the circulation of the story, or even something as simple as a 'slap on the wrist' warning from the AMA. It'd be a good 'we do not support you using our guidelines this way' message from them to other doctors, it wouldn't irreparably damage her ability to make a livelihood, and might just cause her to pray a little bit more and find some inner strength to be a better person.


That all seems very reasonable. I'd just hold on to a little doubt given that a huge part of the story is what's going on inside her head and we just aren't privy to that.
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jeremy cobert
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Donald wrote:
I have to wonder what would have happened if it was an emergency? Or if the doctor was the only one around for 30 miles?


Are you new to freedom ?

Newsflash : you don't have a right to healthcare, if you think you have a right to healthcare then you don't actually understand what a right is.
 
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