Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Let Pa. Doctors Do Their Jobs

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Let Pa. Doctors Do Their Jobs

Article excerpt

Doctors aren't dummies.

They don't need politicians to tell them what they can and can't say to patients, or how to administer tests and treatments.

On Sept. 8, the state House Democratic Policy Committee convened to explore the need to pass the Patient Trust Act in Pennsylvania. Physicians, medical ethics experts and patient advocates met in Pittsburgh to discuss the dangers patients face when medical care becomes politicized.

Introduced in July by Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Squirrel Hill, and Sen. Mike Stack, D-Philadelphia, the Patient Trust Act is part of the Pennsylvania Agenda for Women's Health, a proactive, pro-choice package of bills developed by the bipartisan Women's Health Caucus in the Pennsylvania Legislature.

The Patient Trust Act protects patients. It says that politicians have no business putting words that are "not medically accurate and appropriate for the patient" into the mouths of doctors.

Since antiquity, physicians have taken an oath to treat patients to the best of their ability, with knowledge rooted in clinical experience and scientific consensus. But in recent years, politicians have made it difficult - and in some cases even illegal - for doctors to keep that sacred obligation.

These government-intrusion laws run the gamut from prohibitions on discussing gun-storage safety with patients to gag orders preventing doctors from naming the toxic chemicals that are poisoning a patient's body. A significant number of these government-intrusion laws are proposed by lawmakers trying to disguise their opposition to contraception and abortion by disingenuously claiming that these laws promote women's health and safety.

Recently, the National Partnership for Women and Families released a report that explored the nationwide spike in laws that command doctors what to say and coerce them to administer - and bill patients for - medically unnecessary procedures. …

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