Is it Unethical for a Physician to Refuse to Treat a Lawyer?

The story 

Was it the right decision?

A while back, I suffered from a urological problem, and appeared  for my appointment with a urologist. It was my first visit to the office, and I was handed a patient information questionnaire to complete. I was asked to state my occupation, and   entered, “attorney.” Big mistake. Shortly thereafter,  I was ushered into a treatment room, and told by the nurse to disrobe down to my underwear.

Several minutes later, a tall, gawky doctor entered the room. Without introducing himself, he asked me if I ever filed a medical malpractice case against a physician. I said yes. Big mistake. He turned and left without uttering another word. I waited forty-five minutes (45) for this prince of a physician to re-enter the earth’s atmosphere. Big mistake. He never returned.

I got dressed, stopped at the front desk, and was told Dr. X refused to treat me because I sue doctors.

Never again

Since that unfortunate experience, I have never been mistreated by another physician. The treatment I’ve received, for the most part, has been wonderful. I guess I’m wondering whether my experience with this  rogue urologist was an aberration, or does it happen more than we would like to admit?

Is it justified?

A medical malpractice lawsuit is very personal from a doctors point of view. There is no getting around it; especially when a doctor is sued for the first time. But, does that justify a physician’s refusal to treat a lawyer for a non-emergent medical problem? How about when the patient is waiting in his examination room? Was the doctor entitled to a Mulligan when he learned I was an attorney?

The Declaration of Geneva, as currently amended:

At the time of being admitted as a member of the medical profession:

  • I solemnly pledge to consecrate my life to the service of humanity;
  • I will give to my teachers the respect and gratitude that is their due;
  • I will practice my profession with conscience and dignity;
  • The health of my patient will be my first consideration;
  • I will respect the secrets that are confided in me, even after the patient has died;
  • I will maintain by all the means in my power, the honor and the noble traditions of the medical profession;
  • My colleagues will be my sisters and brothers;
  • I will not permit considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing or any other factor to intervene between my duty and my patient;
  • I will maintain the utmost respect for human life;
  • I will not use my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat;
  • I make these promises solemnly, freely and upon my honor.
NJ medical malpractice lawyer

Ssssh....I'm thinking

I think if Dr. Urology enters Geneva, he’ll be arrested for violating this solemn oath.  What do you think?


About Lawrence "Larry" Berezin

I retired from the private practice of law after a 35-year legal career and fight parking tickets for people like you and me. I love sharing valuable information and beating NYC parking tickets for the driving community in NYC

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