Patient Choice or Physician’s Recommendation

Posted by on May 9, 2017 in Letters to the Editor

Patient’s Choice or Physician’s Recommendation.

Philip G. Ney MD 27/4/10


  1. First scenario, Joe’s arm

Mechanic Joe gets his arm twisted and broken at work but being a tough guy he carries on.  After a few days of “trying everything” to relieve the pain, he decides to consult a physician.

“Doc. I don’t know what’s wrong with this stupid arm but the pain just gets worse no matter what I take.  I want you to cut it off.  It just keep getting in the way”

“Joe I’ve examined it and though you’ve let it go on for awhile, it can be fixed.”

“Thanks Doc.. I know you mean well but it is my arm hanging from my body and it is my choice.  Cut it off”.

“Okay Joe but it seems a shame.”

After the operation.  “Thanks Doc, I feel better already”

“You are welcome Joe.  You better take these pills just in case you don’t feel so good after the anesthetic wears off.”


  1. 2nd Scenario, Jill’s preborn baby/fetus.

Good housewife Jill, after a tryst with a neighbor finds herself embarrassingly pregnant and consults her family physician.

“Doctor, I don’t want this little brat.  Please send me to a good Ob/Gyn for a… you know what”.

“No Jill I can’t do that”.

Jill in rage, “I have my rights and that includes you finding me an abortionist.”

“No Jill, I cannot be forced to do anything against my clinical judgement and evidenced based medicine.”

“Okay, Doc.  Although you have been my GP since you delivered me and I have always respected your judgement, I am now going to file a complaint to the College of Physicians and Surgeons. I hope they suspend you indefinitely”.

“I will face whatever comes, but I will not be party to anything that I know will harm my patient.  I have read the literature carefully. There is no evidence that abortion in good for patients and plenty that show there is harm.  Even if I was unsure, I must first do no harm.

“Why you arrogant Bas………  Abortion is legal in our country. It is a woman’s right and the government funds it so it must be alright”

Physician. “No Jill, you have a right to good treatment but not to an abortion unless it is good treatment.  Jill, I must do what is right for you. No one can make me practice bad medicine, partly because what I do to you, I am doing to myself. It is the universal law of reciprocal reaction”.