Oooh, now for my unsolicited opinion....oh, the trouble that one can stir up when one has psych clinical at 2 pm the next day instead of God-awful early....
My own feeling is if I refuse to do something for a patient that I don't agree with I'm judging my patient's beliefs.
I have a problem with people refusing treatments with blood products, as Jehovah's Witnesses do. I can't understand how someone would do it - why and how could one prefer death over life. But I can't force them to have the treatment, no matter how badly I want to see their life saved (that's not only twisted and psychotic but just morally wrong; I'd be forcing my religion/personal beliefs on someone else - not to mention LEGALLY a disaster), and by the same token I just can't bring myself to not care for them just because they don't believe in blood transfusions.
How could I refuse to care for a frightened 15 year old rape victim who's having an abortion? Or an incest victim? Or a consenting adult who is living her own life the best way she knows how, and feels having an abortion is the best decision for her right then?
For me, it's no different. I don't have to agree with someone's choices to care for them. I'm not living their life. I don't have their experiences. I wasn't raised with their beliefs. Bottom line is, it has nothing to do with me. My Bible says "judge not lest ye be judged" - so I work very hard NOT to.
I will meet many patients I find contemptuous, I'm sure. Some will probably sicken my stomach. But judging them is not my place. For me, refusing care based on MY beliefs is passing judgment on the patient.
Which means if I'm working the ED the night they bring in some convicted killer with chest pain, I will treat them to the best of my ability. I might think un-nice and probably decidedly un-Christian thoughts, but I'll treat them as best I can. My beliefs are my problem, not theirs. Just the same, if a young and unwed Catholic girl wanders into a clinic I'm working in someday, and she desperately needs help in trying to figure out what she's going to do with this baby - it will be her decision and I will answer any questions she has. But I will treat her the same, whether she opts to keep it or abort it. And I will help her in any way I can based on what help she requests, affording her the same confidentiality I would afford anyone, within the bounds of the law and the scope of my practice.
I might encourage them to think very hard about their decision, because there will be a good chance that once it's made, there's no going back. I might encourage them to seek counsel from their own religious leaders, family members, or mentors. And I will of course advocate for my patient when and if I can, and I will help them seek other solutions to their problems if conventional medicine and thought just don't offer any comfort for them.
Overt suggestion (telling folks what to do) and covert criticism are not my job; my job is to care for and take care of my patients. And sometimes that involves leaving my own personal opinions at the door. Because that's what they are - personal. And mine.
Thanks for letting me vent. :smiletea2: