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OPINION

Questions Doctors Should Answer for Their Patients

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

For every patient tired of filling out repetitive and privacy-invasive forms every time they visit a doctor, a medical facility, or a hospital, here is a questionnaire those patients should present to their doctor for him or her to answer and return to them:

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Questionnaire To Be Filled Out By Physician and Returned To Patient* 

1. Your intake form asked me about whether I feel “stress.” I sure do and I don’t think I’m alone in this sentiment. I also don’t consider that the fault is mine.  Unwanted stress comes to me from all sides in our polarized society.  I don’t know about you, Doc, but the loss of some of my longtime friends, simply because they see one another as too far left or too far to the right, is devastating.  Is this of concern to you as a physician? 

2. I and most patients are bothered that doctors and hospitals ask so many questions that seem like a waste of time to regular folks, and that they do this over and over again, as if each time is the very first time. Does this bother you as well? 

3. Do they really think that they are going to get an honest and useful answer to “Do you feel safe at home?” or “Are there any firearms in your home?” or “Do you think often of suicide and have a plan on how you would accomplish that?” I’d like to know how many times you have received a truly honest “yes” answer to those questions, but more importantly, what do you do with such information and who is it shared with?  

4. These days, doctors hardly have the time to deal with all the administrative forms required of them.  This clearly distracts from the medical issues that have brought me to see you.  Is this paperwork barrage the result of doctors being afraid they will be sued, or is the government forcing all of this paperwork down your throats and you also resent it?  Friends of mine in your profession tell me that this non-medical, paper-pushing work is causing physician “burnout” and early retirement from medicine at an alarming rate, which exacerbates the problems of doctor shortages and increases the cost of delivering medical care. Am I wrong in this view? 

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5. For centuries, patients have taken comfort knowing that new doctors take the Hippocratic Oath and abide by it throughout their career.  I understand the Oath states that the most important responsibility for doctors is to do no harm and having a duty to treat every patient without regard to their ability to pay.  

It appears that, increasingly, healthcare today has morphed into big business rather than a sacred profession and has become subject to many of the same partisan political pressures, including abortion, euthanasia, and gun control that have infected so many other aspects of society. 

To top things off, we now learn of this new craze of folks wanting to be transgender, or “transition” from one sex to the other.  It is deeply concerning to think about doctors messing around giving hormones to early teenage kids in order to arrest their sexual development. Parents used to enjoy watching their children mature into healthy young adults, able to make responsible life choices on their own.  But it really is frightening to now read and see stories about doctors and medical facilities surgically castrating boys and removing the breasts from girls, in some cases before those kids are even mature enough to drive.  

Does this fit within any reasoned interpretation of the Hippocratic Oath? I mean, what is going on here?  It kind of blindsides people, when finally we become rightfully tolerant of gay rights and same sex marriage, and then, in short order we are asked to accept what reasonable people consider to be bodily mutilation on young people.  Does the medical community really endorse such practices, but even more importantly, Doc, do you? 

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*NOTE: This questionnaire is not required by, nor will it be shared with any government entity. It will be considered as confidential patient-doctor information.

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and was an official with the CIA in the 1970s. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and serves as head of Liberty Guard.

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