CHESTCHEST NewsAn Ethical Accountability to the Patient-Physician Relationship

An Ethical Accountability to the Patient-Physician Relationship

The American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) strongly supports the rights of the patient to make health care decisions in private consultation with a physician and opposes the use of legislative action, whether federal or state, to erode the foundation of trust that must exist between a patient and physician.

From the earliest versions of the Hippocratic Oath, physicians have promised to protect the privacy of their patient and to put the interests of their patient above their own. The US Supreme Court’s recent action opens the door to state legislation that directly challenges the physician’s ability to discuss every evidence-based medical treatment option available with their patient.

In addition, the right to patient privacy has also been made vulnerable. CHEST stands in opposition to the disclosure, use, transfer, or sale of sensitive health-related patient data without the individual's full consent. No physician should be compelled to divulge their patient’s private medical information, including to law enforcement.

It is not known what laws will be enacted by individual states, but it is known that patients will not be uniformly affected. When access to evidence-based health care is restricted, and trust in the physician diminished, historic health inequities are exacerbated. Any action that further jeopardizes the health of systemically disadvantaged people, such as communities of color, people living in rural areas and those with low incomes, is in direct opposition to CHEST’s commitment to promoting health equity and eliminating health care disparities.

Physicians have a duty to advocate on behalf of their patients. CHEST encourages its members to speak against any action that invades, weakens, or usurps the ability of the patient to discuss medical options with their physician freely and to receive appropriate medical care without delay or interference.

advocacy, healthcare, health care, lung health, CHEST, American College of Chest Physicians, legislation, SCOTUS