A Matter of Life or Death?

By Stephanye R. Clarke

Earlier today I learned something that was disturbing. Call me naïve, but I really had no idea that legislation guides what providers can and cannot say to their patients in some states. When it comes right down to it, politics and the patient/provider relationship really should not be mixed and can prove to be a disastrous cocktail.

One of my coworkers recently attended a National Physicians Alliance (NPA) conference and shared their report (Politics in the Exam Room: A Growing Threat) and a corresponding Atlantic blog (New Report: Politics in the Exam Room) with me. Of particular concern to me was how some providers are being coerced into sharing incorrect and/or incomplete information.

The report, produced in collaboration with National Partnership for Women & Families, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, highlights three troubling examples where corporate interests have invaded the exam room, based on lobbying by corporate interests:

  • Gun safety
  • The impact of chemicals used in fracking on employee and community health
  • Women’s reproductive health

How is it possible that the relationship between a provider and patient is framed according to corporate/shareholder interests? And how can providers be expected to give the highest quality care possible if they’ve legally been gagged or required to spread misinformation? Information about whether or not a gun is in the house (along with whether or not optimal gun safety practices are being employed) can be as significant a predictor of health outcomes as is knowing whether or not everyone in a family is suddenly very ill due to exposure to dangerous chemicals/conditions in their neighborhoods. This could quite literally be a matter of life and death.

This has caused me to reflect carefully about questions that have been asked of me while chopping it up with my providers; it also has me wondering what questions may not have been asked and how that intersects with my current and future health.

How about you?

This entry was posted in Stephanye Clarke and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s