What to do when moral ideas of the doctor and patient clash?

I was replying to a fellow doctor blog post.

It was about moral judgement, when doctors have moral and ethical beliefs that might giving patients certain treatments or advice difficult.

It is complicated. I used to train young GP’s- Family Practitioners., In the UK, we provide most types of contraception in General Practice.

I had some trainees who had a problem in prescribing certain types of contraception or refer for termination of pregnancy because of religious reasons. One was a Baptist, one Muslim, one a Roman Catholic.

In their tutorials, I said ” Yes, that is OK, but you must provide a non judgemental advice telling them where to go instead. And you must make sure you do not make them feel guilty or worthless. It is not about you, it is about them. You can say you are sorry you do not do this, but they can go to Dr…., and you will arrange it.

Even then, it was complicated, the patients still undoubtedly felt they were being disapproved of.

In the end, we put a notice in the waiting room:
“Unplanned pregnancy or complicated Family Planning problem? You can see the following doctors…”
It gave the doctors and the patients a choice.

Thank you for making me think, Victo Dolore https://doctorly.wordpress.com/


5 thoughts on “What to do when moral ideas of the doctor and patient clash?

      1. One of the commenters (I can’t remember who) suggested “For my own reasons I cannot” which I think allows the doctor to take complete ownership of the issue without being judgmental to the patient.


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