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Dear Dr
Black eye

Hello Kaiser Permanente,


I've got an appointment next week with my new doctor. Thank you for that. I'm sure he will be great. But I noticed that he graduated from Temple University, and listed "teaching in our church" as a hobby.


So, I need to ask: does my doctor mind treating gay people?


I shouldn't have to ask this question. In a perfect world, my doctor would be ethical and give me medical attention without regard to my sexual orientation. But thanks to new rules implemented by the Bush administration, medical professionals can refuse to give treatment based on their personal religious beliefs. So, I ask again... by any chance does my new doctor hate gay people like me?


Also, I expect he has a number of nurses and EMTs that will assist him. Please provide me with a list of all possible staff at that facility who might treat me, as well as their chosen religions and beliefs. In Bush's new world, even pharmacists can refuse to fill prescriptions for contraception, morning-after pills, and AIDS medications. I wouldn't want to find out about that when it's too late.


Since your company agrees with allowing your employees to refuse care based on their own whims and superstitions, lease send me a complete list of all Kaiser Permanente employees, their addresses, and if they are small-minded christian bigots. Thank you very much in advance.


Sincerely. No, seriously... very, very sincerely,


Patrick Kellogg



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For pharmacists, the right of refusal has been around long before Bush had his filthy hand in the cookie jar. I'd have to go back to my textbooks and research state statutes to see if there were terms governing what I could and couldn't refuse to fill. I don't remember, but I think it was sort of vague. I do remember some discussion about it in class (1996-2000) because we had some religious fundies. It's embarrassing that these religious fucktards are warping it for a purpose it wasn't really intended. Obviously, I don't condone pharmacists refusing prescriptions for moral reasons, but I also don't believe right of refusal, for any reason, should be taken away.
Seriously, do you want some closet case homophobe treating you anyway? If you legally force someone to treat you, what kind of care are you going to receive then?
I'd rather he/she was able to be honest. If it turns out he does have objections, I would think an organization as large as KP would have a list or liason or someone to address those concerns and help you find a different doctor.

"I wonder if I can refuse to do anything at my job - making copies, filling out weekly status reports - and just tell my boss that it's against my religion. No questions asked"

I'm sure there are plenty of things you do at your job that you could refuse for moral or religious grounds without being reprimanded. If I refused to do clerical work, as that you mention above, then I would be reprimanded too. Filling a prescription is hardly comparable, no matter what you may assume you know about it, from watching across a retail counter.

"Seriously, do you want some closet case homophobe treating you anyway? If you legally force someone to treat you, what kind of care are you going to receive then? "

I want them fired, so they can't treat anyone.

The right of refusal is criminal. I couldn't be a firefighter who refuses to put out fires in black houses. You're wrong... you CAN'T be reprimanded for refusing to help gay people based on stupid bigoted beliefs. And that's wrong.

I don't know Patrick. I think you're right. I think I may be wrong. I've been conflicted on this for a long time and probably am leaning more toward making allowable reasons for refusal more clear. I've been opposed to changing it simply because I've been afraid any attempt to do so would go too far. Obviously, refusing to fill for patient safety or suspicion of fraud should continue to be allowed. I just hate to see more legislation on something that should be common sense.

Or... what is the other option? As a gay man, just keep hitting pharmacies until I find one who will serve me? Or legislate that all offices are double-staffed so at least ONE person is there to fill the order? Or, as I ask - give me a list of where to go.

Unless a work-around is in place, the idea of pharmacist refusal is not tenable.

Our recently re-elected Governor here in Washington (Yay!) issued an executive order to the Pharmacists in the state that required them to fill all prescriptions as written or lose their license.

Medicine is science.

Religious bigotry is not.

Proper medical treatment cannot be dependent on whim, bigotry or politics.

PERFECT! I can move to Washington and drop my professional liability insurance because the governor of Washington just took legal responsibility for medication errors caused by the prescriber.

Edit: Oops, guess I should keep paying my premium. She gave herself an out, "a lawful prescription should be filled unless there is a clinical or patient safety issue"

Edited at 2009-01-17 08:41 pm (UTC)


Her order involved refusal to prescribe contraceptives and drugs for *religious* reasons, as well you know!




Plus, the Board of the state, which had tried to pass *religious bigotry* exemptions, was told to cut that shit out, or she was going to fire and replace them with people who actually cared more about their living patients than their Living God.

"Filling a prescription is hardly comparable, no matter what you may assume you know about it, from watching across a retail counter."

Sometimes I'm cranky, and see the Walmart pill-delivery guy as nothing but a human vending machine, no more ethically qualified to refuse my prescriptions than the check-out guy.

But, you're right. I've seen "It's a Wonderful Life" enough times to know that a pharmacist's mistake can kill. But that makes it WORSE! A woman comes in distraught after a rape, and somehow the christian asshole thinks it's a good tome to say no. Not helping sick people in their darkest hour of need is an evil evil thing.

I agree and I'm embarrassed people in my profession aren't putting patient welfare above their moral beliefs. Leave the judgement to your Jesus.

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