Can Political Opinions Affect the Standard of Care?

Posted on October 19, 2016 by Shapiro Law Group

medical malpractice

Presidential elections can bring out the worst in people, especially your friends, family members and coworkers. But what about your doctor? A new study conducted by researchers at Yale University claims the political affiliations of doctors might affect quality of care patients receive. The important question is: can it also affect the standard of care?

The study looked up the party affiliations of 20,000 primary care physicians by obtaining voter registration records. Researchers then surveyed 200 of those doctors and asked how they would respond to several different scenarios involving patients.

Results gathered from the survey show political issues and party affiliations may make doctors biased towards their patients. For example, doctors who identified as Republican were 64 percent more likely to discuss the risks of smoking recreational marijuana than their Democrat-leaning counterparts.

According to a researcher, the political opinions of doctors may create an “implicit bias” that causes a partisan divide with patients. In addition, researchers claim the study could affect what type of care certain types of patients receive. Political opinions could affect health care for transgender patients, or people receiving end-of-life care.

The findings suggest doctors may use political beliefs as a pretext to ignore their professional opinions as medical practitioners. Doctors are supposed to look at patients objectively to determine the best course of action for care. Politics should not even be part of the equation when it comes to caring for patients!

Politics and the Standard of Care: Should You Be Worried?

This study does not prove the political opinions of your doctor are a threat to your safety; it has simply discovered a possible connection between political opinions and the type of medical advice received. However, the study does imply a possible trend of giving medical advice based on political beliefs. That is quite an alarming finding. In other words, this is a phenomenon that might warrant additional research and further discussion.

The Florida medical malpractice attorneys at Shapiro Law Group can help patients who have been harmed by hospital mistakes and medical wrongdoing.

Tags: Healthcare


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