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Patient vrs doctor rights

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Should a doctor be allowed to deny surgery if someone doesn't quit smoking. The following article is about a surgeon in Timmons Ontario, the only Lung specialist they have, who is refusing to operate on anyone who doesn't quit smoking. What is you opinion on this?

Should surgeons be allowed to shut patients out of operating rooms if they smoke?

It’s a complicated issue that recently came to light when a surgeon in Timmins became frustrated with patients who wouldn’t kick the habit, and refused to operate on them.

And some people strongly disagree with those actions. “I don't think he should be allowed [to refuse surgery],†said Louie Barkhouse. “He's paid by the Ontario government and the Ontario government collected money on the [cigarettes]. I don't agree with it.â€

“I think it's unfair for somebody to not perform surgery…†stated Jodie Andrews.

But the College of Physicians and Surgeons, which oversees Ontario’s medical matters, says other doctors in the province do have the right to take the same sort of stand.

The debate has ethicists up in arms, saying the move to refuse to operate on those who haven’t quit smoking is unfair. They argue that lighting up is an addiction, and some aren’t able to butt out. And focusing on smokers is discriminatory they claim, because other factors such as eating fatty foods also impact diseases including heart problems and diabetes.
post #2 of 10
Doen't doctors take an oath to do no harm? I would require them to go into a stop smoking program as part of the treatment. Then I would bill the cigarette company for their illness.
post #3 of 10
In this country, doctors have a right to remove themselves from a case, if a patient doesn't follow medical advice. Ultimately, the responsibility lies with the patient. The doctor has to detail this, in writing and explain his/her reasons.
post #4 of 10
I can understand why a doctor would do this. We all have a limited amount of time in our lives. Should a Dr. do surgery on someone who is not willing to follow his advice and take that time away from a patient who is willing to follow his advice? We all have choices.
post #5 of 10
For any smokers needing orthopedic (bone) surgery, such as a back or knee operation, you should be aware that it has been well documented that smokers have a 75% chance that the bones will not heal or fusions will take. What happens is that the bones simply don't get adequate oxygen to them for them to heal.
I agree that rather than denying treatment outright, the doctor should prescribe something to help the patient stop smoking, either the patch or the pill. Once you have been 6 months smoke-free, your rate of healing is the same as a non-smoker.
post #6 of 10
The difference between what Drs. in the US can do and what Drs. in Canada can do is that the government pays for medical treatment in Canada. With private practice doctors in the US, sure they can refuse to do any treatment that they want. With the socialistic medical program they have in Canada I would have a real problem with that decision, especially if this particular doctor is the only one in the area who can perform the surgery.

I also strongly disagree with the notion that the tobacco companies are responsible for smoker's medical bills. I smoke, and I own the problem if I develop medical problems. I CHOOSE to smoke, no one forced me, coerced me to start smoking, and I knew the dangers when I started and when I buy each pack of cigarettes. To me, these people who are suing the tobacco companies for their health problems are copping out, placing the blame on someone else. Yes, it's addicting. We also all know that before we start smoking. Heroine is addicting, so is cocaine, but I CHOOSE not to do those! MY choice! I have a real problem when people won't take responsibility for their own actions and choices.
post #7 of 10
I agree 100% with you Heidi - but would like to add, that where I disagree with tobacco companies not being liable is in their advertising.

This is less of an issue now with tobacco advertising banned in many places (it's it funny though - in the UK, the government will ban press and poster advertising of cigarettes but they won't ban the sponsorship of Formula 1 racing, as one of the big noises in F1 is a major contributor of funds to the Labour party). How dirty is that!?!?!?!?

Anyway, back to my point, the tobacco companies entice people to smoke by presenting the activity as sexy, seductive and cool. This by and large tends to hook people when they are young and impressionable. Of course, once they fully realise what they are doing to themselves, they are hooked and it's hard to get out!!

The media is very powerful - only the other evening, I was watching a home make-over programme and one of the presenters, a very sexy Irish garden designer was smoking. Do you know, pregnancy and all I SOOOO wanted a ciggie. What about all the 12 year old girls that have a crush on this man - I'm sure it will probably also cross they minds that smoking is cool.

I'm very into the individual being responsible for their own actions, but I also believe they need help to do the right thing rather than have temptation and obstacles put in their way constantly.
post #8 of 10

Here, here! It is so refreshing to find someone with that attitude. We all want to blame someone else, when most of the times we just need to look in the mirror. It is our choice, and sometimes our choices have consequences and then we have to live with those consequences.
post #9 of 10
Yo, Heidi - another smoker here. MY choice, My addiction and if I get sick, MY problem. Nobody's been holding a gun on me, for the past 30-od years, making me smoke.

I don't smoke where its prohibited or in nonsmokers' homes. Because of Bill's respiratory problems, I don't smoke in my own home.
post #10 of 10
Right on!I to choose to smoke also no tobacco company ever held a gun to my head to get me to light up that first time!I also do not smoke in nonsmoker's home or cars.In my own home Ted also smokes but when The grandchildern are we do not smoke in frount of them.
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