Reader Poll: Treating Racist Patients

March 03, 2016

A recently released framework for physicians and hospitals on how to respond to racist patients suggests the use of five ethical and practical factors: the patient's medical condition, his or her decision-making capacity, options for responding to the request, reasons for the request, and effect on the physician.

“A patient's refusal of care based on the treating physician's race or ethnic background can raise thorny ethical, legal, and clinical issues — and can be painful, confusing, and scarring for the physicians involved," write the authors, who wanted to strike a balance between the patient’s wishes and the physician’s right to be respected.

One critic states that physicians and their employers should not be respectful of “hatred, bigotry, misogyny, or prejudice.”