The Texas Tribune reported this week that legislators in Austin have proposed a bill that would forbid physicians from asking their patients about guns. Joe Gibes has commented on this issue in this blog (“It’s Not Primarily About the Guns” on Sept. 12, 2014). In Texas, this is set against the backdrop of Open Carry legislation, a change in rules for those licensed to carry a handgun that would do away with the requirement they conceal their weapons.
While this legislation is related to debates about guns and recent gun violence, I think this issue is more closely related to the lack of trust in the medical profession. Take the vaccine debate of a couple months ago (and Senator Rand Paul’s tweet). This is tied to concerns about autism, but it reveals a larger mistrust in medical science and healthcare policy. I think this was exacerbated by the Ebola outbreak in Dallas and questionable management at both the hospital level and county/public health department level and even the federal CDC.
So, now more than ever, we need to rediscover the sacred patient-physician relationship. Some patients may be wary of a doctor trying to make a buck off their care (see Lesley Stahl’s reporting on the revenue which comes from pharmaceutical companies in the course of cancer treatment). Doctors may be concerned with the platoon of lawyers tagging along with some of their patients. Or maybe it is that guy with the MBA running the hospital. And, of course, there is the government. A great cloud of mistrust hangs over Washington as Congress continues to float ideas about changing the Affordable Care Act and the Supreme Court weighs an ACA challenge.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.