Being a physician is a privilege. I am entrusted by my patients to care for them. The doctor patient relationship is a unique and special one – and it needs to be nurtured and properly cared for – as any relationship. I do not ever take this privilege for granted.
When someone comes into see me whether for preventive care or with an issue, we discuss what tests should be done. The patient and I. Already we have some intrusion into this space – insurance companies and their third party screening companies. And these intrusions erode that sacred space of my office.
So now, as I watch all over America state legislators are practicing medicine without a license. They are ordering unnecessary tests on my patients and inserting themselves into the sacred space of the doctor patient relationship – tainting it. The decision to have an ultrasound is one for doctors to make along with their patients – the government should have nothing to do with it.
They cloak these new laws around informed consent – well I learned about informed consent in my 4 years at Yale Medical School and my 3 years of residency at Oregon Health Sciences University – I am fairly certain my colleagues and I know the risks and benefits of procedures and tests.
Unnecessary tests are not without their own risks. Ironically, ultrasounds have unknown effects on fetal development – with these bills’ endgame to be preventing abortion, they could well be harming these fetuses with potentially fatal consequences.
In an era where we are trying to rein in medical costs, adding unnecessary tests is irresponsible. It is bad medicine.