Friday, July 21, 2006

Misplaced ?conscience? decisions

The newest phenomenon sweeping through American society is the new code of applying guilt-stricken consciences to decisions in the health industry.

Given some of the extreme rationales, there's no end to where some Americans could take this new ethic.

Conscience seems to be at the heart of Idaho Health District No. 7 allowing eight member counties to decide whether to ban emergency distribution of the morning-after Plan B contraceptive pill to young women without parental permission. Bonneville and Jefferson counties have opted out of the pill program already. Presumably, the pill would be available in nearby counties not conscience-stricken.

Nationwide, "conscience" incidents have cropped up everywhere.

A Chicago ambulance driver refused to transport a patient for an abortion. A Texas pharmacist refused the morning-after pill to a rape victim. A California fertility specialist rejected a gay woman's request for artificial insemination.

Imagine the breakdown in health care if individuals decide when and to whom they will provide care, such as a Jewish physician refusing to care for a Muslim in an emergency room or vice-versa?

Licensed health care professionals explicitly accept the responsibility of unconditional care for others when they enter their very specialized fields. Those who have selective conditions or reservations about who they'll treat should find jobs where their personal codes won't be troubled by public obligations.

Patients in need shouldn't have to wait for caretakers to ponder if their consciences are up to providing health care.

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