In my pitiful attempt to stop the madness in Arizona I sent a ton of emails out asking various agencies in the public realm that should be interested in Senate Bill #1359–you know the one that allows a doctor to lie to his or her patients about their pregnancy? Below is an exchange with the VP of the Arizona Medical Association (ARMA), who is responsible for public policy. In the end I was not too happy with the reponses mainly because they are of no immediate use to me but also because I think he is conveniently avoiding taking a stand. His first response was specific about abortion, as if he read my email but because the dreaded term “Abortion” was in it, he could easily respond with “we have no position”. Of course the bill is about much more than just abortion, which I fully covered in my initial email. But I responded back asking about the issue of doctor/patient confidentiality, again. Ultimately it isn’t his prostate being regulated so perhaps it matters less to him and the (probably) predominantly male members of ARMA. Read what he had to say and tell me what you think.
_____________
From: Tina #####################
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 9:42 AM
To: David Landrith
Subject: Re: AZ Senate Bill #1359

Dear Mr. Landrith,

This email is to express my opposition to the recent bill passed by the Arizona Senate regarding “wrongful birth” #1359 that may be coming up in the House for consideration. My reasoning for not supporting the bill is detailed below. What is the official stance of the AZ Medical Association’s stance on this bill?

The language of this bill is far too broad and would allow grievous harm to come to both women and their unborn babies. It is never a good idea to introduce suspicion into the relationship of a patient and their doctor, and that’s what this bill would do. I, and many other women will tell you, that if a doctor is given explicit legal permission to lie to female patients, we WILL stop trusting them. This will cause insurance prices to rise because women will now be forced to seek multiple opinions in order to ensure that we are being told the truth. Furthermore, the standard proposed in the bill of “intentional or grossly negligent acts” is far too high. It is very difficult to prove that a doctor knew and purposely caused harm. And as for the “mens rea” of gross negligence, this bill would allow implicitly allow doctors to engage in less than gross negligence with impunity. That is simply unacceptable. We’re talking about the life and health of unborn children, the mother, and the entire family for the lifetime of that child. This is not an area of medical practice that allows for such “wiggle room”.

Moreover, this bill will not accomplish any of its objectives. Medical Malpractice only accounts for 3.2% on average of a doctor’s annual revenue (source: http://www.citizen.org/congress/article_redirect.cfm?ID=9125). In regards to rising health care costs in general, medical malpractice accounts for less than 2% of health care costs in the U.S. (source: http://www.insurance-reform.org/pr/AIRhealthcosts.pdf). Study after study have shown that such reforms do not work because they actually cause more harm and do not affect the rising cost of health care. There are many other reforms that would have a greater impact on rising health care costs, that would not jeopardize the trust between doctors and patients, would result in much less harm coming to women and their unborn children, and would reduce the need for abortions. I am all for health care reform and reducing the number of abortions, but not in this way.

I strongly oppose this bill. Please vote NO on the “Wrongful Birth” Bill (Senate Bill #1359).

Respectfully,
Tina ##############
_________________________
From: David Landrith
To: Tina #####################
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 11:25 AM
Subject: RE: AZ Senate Bill #1359

Thank you Tina, I share some of your concerns but the Medical Association has a long standing Position of No Position on abortion issues pro or con because our membership is divided on it. Therefore I am unable to take a position on the bill, Thanks for being involved in the policy debate, David
___________________
From: Tina ################
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 1:24 PM
To: David Landrith
Subject: Re: AZ Senate Bill #1359

Mr. Landrith,

Thank you for taking the time to reply. I can understand the ARMA’s position in regards to abortion. However, this bill also tells doctors it is okay to withhold or lie to the patient about their own medical condition. Regardless of whether it has to do with abortion or not, isn’t that a violation of the Hippocratic Oath? Why couldn’t the ARMA take a stand on that particular point?

Respectfully,

Tina #######
______________________________
From: David Landrith
To: Tina #################
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 1:56 PM
Subject: RE: AZ Senate Bill #1359

It is the way our policy is written. We plan to revisit itat our annual meeting to see about taking stands on purely clinical issues in the future

_______________________________

PS: All misspellings/typos have been left in for the sake of accuracy

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