I found this article on MSNBC very interesting in terms of the number of doctors who feel that they can somehow impose their moral choices on their patients. I do have some problems with the methodology involved in the survey and the conclusions drawn–the former don’t clearly support the latter. Nonetheless, these attitudes raise some warning flags for me.
Sometimes, and I don’t know of a scientific study that would tell me precisely how often, the medical profession takes a very arrogant view of the rest of us. They know best, and we ought to listen. But the facts are that there are many, many disagreements on treatment amongst medical professionals. I believe firmly that the individual should be the one to make the choice as to medical care, even if that choice results in his or her death. (When dealing with children, other factors come in, of course.) That decision should potentially be informed to the maximum extent possible, i.e. the medical professionals should provide whatever information the patient desires.
I’m concerned that so many don’t feel obligated to inform patients of procedures to which they may morally object. They may be right about the morality, but that moral decision is not theirs to make for another person.