Outreached Disrupted by Pat Conrad MD

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This one is tricky, for a couple of reasons. First, I really like to double- or even triple-source stories that might be questionable. While there are multiple references to this story, the only mainstream mention is from Fox news; the others come from websites that are either explicitly religious or ideological (seriously, I’d welcome any other mainstream sources). Second, because it involves a hospital that doesn’t want to get sued, the lack of detailed comment from the other side makes it tough to judge the veracity of the aggrieved individual’s complaints. And third, this swirls around a very controversial topic for a lot of people.

According to urologist Dr. Paul Church, he was fired by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for his opposition to “a social agenda [the hospital] wanted to promote.” Church cited the hospital policy of promoting “such events as Gay Pride Week and “LGBT Achievement” awards ceremonies.” “The hospital’s stance ignored overwhelming evidence that practices common in the LGBT increase the risk of disease and mental illness, according to Church.”

The hospital’s 25-member medical executive committee voted to expel him, and the hospital stated, “that Church’s behavior was “inconsistent with BIDMC’s established standards of professional conduct…Because this is a medical staff credentialing matter, we do not plan to comment further.”

“Church said he asked the hospital to stop sending him emails promoting LGBT culture and events, but he continued to receive them.

Some members of the hospital staff were apparently offended by Church’s remarks, some of which cited Bible verses, and an investigation into Church was conducted.”

What we are left with are questions. Is Church a sincere man of faith who sees his medical practice as an extension of his beliefs? That certainly could describe a great many physicians from all sorts of different faiths and ideologies that I have known. Or is Church just a proselytizing jerk? And if so, did he exhibit actual disruption? There is no mention of any claim of poor patient treatment or poor quality work, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t occur. Again, we can’t tell.

But in an era when the hospitals push physicians into all sorts of unwarranted, or even objectionable behavior, the larger question for me is, was the hospital actually promoting specific LGBT events? And if they were, is that an appropriate function of the hospital? And in either case, should a hospital be allowed to enforce policies that interfere with the medical judgment, or religious beliefs of their physicians? Am I missing any important questions on this? What do you think?

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  2 comments for “Outreached Disrupted by Pat Conrad MD

  1. Perry
    January 10, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Everyone one knows it’s a free country and you can believe and express whatever views you like as long as they’re politically correct.

  2. Steve O'
    January 10, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Well, “ethically” now means legally in this country – it’s not what’s right, it’s what wins in court. The answer will be in Obergefell v. Hodges, and in Burwell.

    The law seems to be inching in the direction that CORPORATIONS may have deeply-held beliefs, but not INDIVIDUALS. This, of course, is insane.

    In 1896, as part of their missionary charter, Methodist deaconesses founded Deaconess Hospital. Beth Israel, no surprise, was founded by bequests of the Jewish community. Is there an appeal to their founding charters, or to some objective standard for handling the matter?

    What did the doctor refuse or complain about? Emails? Care of individuals? Do doctors have the right to refuse the care of patients in non-emergent situations? (Bet that concept doesn’t survive this brouhaha.)

    Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015 WL 213646 – Supreme Court 2015; Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 2751 – Supreme Court 2014

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