biomedical ethics: September 2006 Archives

Tepeyac Family Center
It used to be, if you went to a Catholic doctor or hospital, you knew that certain things were not going to be there. It is a sad commentary on our times that there is usually little or no difference any more. Consider these two paragraphs from the article:

Critics, however, worry that the practices are segregating medicine along religious lines and may be providing inadequate care by failing to fully inform patients about their options. The critics are especially alarmed about the consequences in poor or rural areas with few alternatives.

"Welcome to the era of balkanized medicine," said R. Alta Charo, a bioethicist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. "We've had this for years with religious hospitals. What's happening now is it's drifting down to the level of individual practitioners and small group practices. It essentially creates a parallel world of medicine."

Hello there! Medicine has always beenbalkanized in the USA. Always! If you don't have the dollars, and can't travel, there are LOTS of care that just isn't available. Like home birth, midwifery care, elective cesarean on demand, various forms of cosmetic surgery, orthodontia, etc. What stands out in this article is a prevailing belief that practicing gynecology without offering contraception and artificial reproductive technology is somehow inferior. I would question that basic premise.

Medical school and other forms of training for health care practicioners are intentionally a form of "brainwashing" - they wash the brain of one set of knowledge and beliefs to make room to then indoctrinate one with the culture of health care as practiced in the 21st century Western World. Cultural anthropologists talk about the process of tearing down and rebuilding identity during various rites of passage. And that is what happens to many, if not most, of us who have come through training in health care in the USA.

The WaPo article cited above is also an example of a very real attempt on the part of a mainstream media organ to present a fair and balanced view. Unfortunately, it becomes very obvious very soon that the reporter is totally baffled as to why otherwise 'normal' folks like the Tepeyac practice do things the way they do.

One quote is very telling:

"I felt like he was judging me and putting pressure on me. . . . I am the patient. I am the client. It should have been about me -- what I needed. Not what he needed or believed."

In childbirth circles, this is called the "Burger King" approach - after the commercials that featured the jingle, "Have it your way". My comment in reply was like the old margarine commercial - "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature". If it really is 'all about me', then why do we have any regulations about the practice of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, or other health care professions? Why do we not follow the example of many other countries and make almost all medications including birth control pills and antibiotics freely available through a pharmacy?

In my fantasies, I put together a presentation for a national mainstream medical group titled "But I don't want to take the pill" - in which I would present all the non-contraceptive treatments for the various conditions that my colleagues routinely treat with birth control pills. Maybe next year I will find the time to find the supporting research and documentation.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the biomedical ethics category from September 2006.

biomedical ethics: July 2006 is the previous archive.

biomedical ethics: October 2006 is the next archive.

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