Ethics 101 – It’s Beyond My Scope of Practiceby JC, MD | July 13, 2008
In medicine a lot of physicians categorize their patients as “good” patients or “bad” patients. Good patients are patients whose care is relatively easy for the physician to handle. The patient is compliant with recommendations, is motivated to get better, and is thankful for the doctor’s care. Bad patients are generally those patients who do not follow physician recommendations, who behave in a way detrimental to their own health, who are extremely high demand, and who threaten litigation. Good patients are more likely to do better with treatment. Bad patients are very likely to have a complication.
Some of these things are within the patient’s control. Some of these are not. Unfortunately, doctors do not always distinguish between difficult and complex medical problems and difficult and complex social problems. It is not uncommon for these patients to be homeless, poor, or with chronic health problems that are not properly cared for.
One scenario that occurs relatively frequently is when a physician passes a patient on to another physician. Often the doctor says that the patient’s medical problem is “beyond the scope of his practice.” Meaning that he is not comfortable treating the patient’s problem and that he recommends that patient see a “specialist.”
Sometimes this is a legitimate reason. Often times the doctor just does not want this patient in his practice. In the medical profession this is often referred to as “poaching” — when a doctor selects the “best” (often the ones who have good insurance) and leaves the other patients for other doctors to see.
As you can imagine, this practice is fraught with questionable ethics.
Should doctors have the right to pick and choose who they take care of? Should doctors be able to refuse care based on “scope of practice” even though the patient’s problem is a basic problem that any board certified physician must be able to handle to be licensed?
Child Development – Fostering Self-Actualization at a Young Age
Mind Over Matter? Mindfulness Meditation For Pain Management
Neurological Basis of Altruism
Fulfilling Our Unique Humanity
Exercise and Brain Aging
This Sunday February 14th (9 p.m. ET), the Emmy-nominated Brain Games tv-show is back! Wonder junkie Jason Silva returns to our screens, teaming up with... READ MORE →
Do not miss out ever again. Subscribe to get our newsletter delivered to your inbox a few times a month.
Like what you read? Give to Brain Blogger sponsored by GNIF with a tax-deductible donation.Make A Donation