Dr. Vercler’s presentation went over a lot of very interesting and deep topics on ethics. Should a doctor be allowed to say no? I think that in some circumstances and on a base-to-base case, a doctor/physician should be able to say ‘no’ to their patients. I’m sure some of you disagree with me but sometimes people want excessive surgeries or procedures, or want to make a decision that is not in their best interest. However, I do think that when telling a patient no, the doctor needs to explain why he/she is being denied certain care, and that this denial of care is being based on medical facts and what the doctor thinks would be best.
My father has a number of joint and bone issues due to being hit by a car before my birth, he continuously has to receive treatment via procedures and surgeries so that he can live his life to the fullest. He actually had another shoulder procedure at the University hospital last month. There is a procedure that can be done to take care of a vast majority of his neck and back pain, but that said this procedure has a higher risk rate and does not guarantee his ability to be pain free. As a result, physicians have told him that it is in his best interest to not have the procedure done, at least not until he is much older and is aware of the risks and possible benefits. In this case, my father’s best interest has been put first rather than choosing a producer than may ultimately hurt him more than help him. Some of you may think, ‘He’s crazy not to receive the care, he might be so much better off!’ but the reality is, he’s playing it much safer without having the procedure done. His denial of treatment is being substituted with smaller and safer procedures that can be done to help improve his quality of life.
My father was denied care but for the right reasons. The doctors, rather than lead him on with false hope, educated him on the procedure, the facts behind their decision, and an alternative that works just as well without all the risk. I think that although he has to have more than one procedure done, he does not have to worry about it all going wrong in one, risky, procedure.
In my book, sometimes you have a right to tell a patient ‘no’, and it works out for the better. The patient isn’t always going to make the right decision and it is the physicians job to lead them down a path of life and vitality, even if that means telling them ‘no’.