Topics: Medicine, Ethics, Physician Pages: 3 (970 words) Published: April 14, 2013
The Bioethics of Refusing to Treat a Patient

Medical doctors should be able to refuse to treat patients based on their personal belief.

Timothy Muraoka
Block 5 11-27-12

Thesis Statement: Medical doctors should be able to refuse to treat patients based on their personal belief.
I. Conscientious objection is being practiced and can be protected by the law.
A. Conscientious objection is a doctor’s right to refuse to offer specific treatments in a nonemergency setting, so long as alternative treatment options are provided. (Grady, May2006, para.1)

1. Pediatricians are refusing to treat children if not vaccinated first according to guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (Andrews, September 26, 2011, para. 3)
2. A few ob-gyn doctors in South Florida now refise to see otherwise healthy women because they are overweight. (LaMendola, May 17, 2011, para. 1)
B. Some states allow and don’t allow independent conscientious objections by their medical doctors.
1. Under proposed Michigan law, licensed professionals, students at a health facility, and others in health care services at more than 15 specified locations where health related activities take place would be allowed to conscientiously object. (Grady, May 2006, para.4)

2. New Jersey’s law prohibits pharmacists for refusing to fill prescriptions solely on moral, religious or ethnical grounds. (Pharmacist, May 1, 2012, para.4)

II. When people live a certain way it can make procedures performed by doctors more difficult to perform.
A. Some 54% of doctors who took part in a survey about “life rationing” said the NHS should have the right to withhold non-emergency treatment from patients who do not lose weight or stop smoking. (Cambell, April, 28, 2012, para.1 and 2)

1. Some medics believe unhealthy behavior can make procedures less likely to work, and that the service is not obliged to devote...

References: Pharmacist Conscience Clauses Laws and Information. (2012, May 1). NCSL Home. Retrieved October 24, 2012, from
Andrews, M. (2011, September 26). Some Pediatricians Refuse to Treat Children whose Parents Oppose Immunizations - The Washington Post. Washington Post: Breaking News, World, US, DC News & Analysis. Retrieved October 24, 2012, from
Biomedical Ethics in U.S. Public Policy--Background Paper. (1993, June 1). Biomedical Ethics in U.S. Public Policy...Introduction. Retrieved October 24, 2012, from
Campbell, D. (2012, April 28). Doctors Back Denial of Treatment for Smokers and the Obese | Society | The Observer . Latest US news, world news, sport and comment from the Guardian | | The Guardian . Retrieved October 24, 2012, from
Grady, A. (2006, May 1). VM -- Legal Protection for Conscientious Objection by Health Professionals, May 06 ... Virtual Mentor. Virtual Mentor :: American Medical Association Journal of Ethics | Retrieved October 24, 2012, from
LaMendola, B. (2011, May 17). Some Docs Won 't See Overweight Patients. Retrieved October 24, 2012, from refusing to treat obese patients Obesity&title=Some Docs Won 't See Overweight Patients&res=Y&ren=Y&gov=Y&lnk=N&ic=N
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