Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Ethics (?) of Legislating Medical Practice

It’s the legislative season throughout the US at both the state and federal levels. Which prompts a question that might at first seem a bit naïve. But before we ask the question, a bit of background.

All of us have likely observed at one time or another a physician, a group of physicians or a corporation appeared to perhaps be attempting to use a legislative process to change the practice of medicine.

For example: XYZ Company devises a new tool to diagnose a disease. The legislature is lobbied to change the law so that this particular test becomes akin to a mandatory screening. One consideration is the financial gain to be garnered by the XYZ Company if the legislative change is made. More importantly, the legislature is not the body to determine if proper human subject testing has been completed, among other considerations.

So here’s the question: what is the proper (ethical) relationship between legislative and regulatory bodies when it comes to the practice of medicine?



Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

Society has always provided doctors with the permission to practice medicine with supervision by the doctor's peers. So to this extent, society has their hands on the doctors. What might be unusual these days is to the extent to which state legislative bodies have become intimately involved in the details and previously established standards of medical practice to the extent of interfering with the very unique doctor-patient relationship. Much of this involvement is related to attempts by legislators to inhibit the legal elective abortions. Physicians are ordered under penalty to provide to the patient legislator-devised speech and images not necessarily requested by the patient. These legislative attempts to manage the doctor-patient relationship in these and other noxious ways to me represent unethical acts defying personal autonomy and justice (fairness) for both parties of the relationship and an intrusion into matters for which the legislators have not been trained leading the legislators' orders to ethical legislative maleficence for the parties involved. Anyway, that's my opinion. ..Maurice.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012  

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