This is a follow-up to my post yesterday about abortion.
I think almost everyone, no matter what their stance is on abortion, agrees that no physician should have to perform an abortion if they believe it's wrong. I certainly believe this.
However, consider this scenario:
There is a primary care physician named Dr. Green who believes abortion is wrong. Naturally, as a PCP, she does not ever have to perform this procedure.
However, Dr. Green has a patient named Mrs. Blue. Mrs. Blue has some serious medical issues, and recently became pregnant accidentally with her husband, despite believing she was sterile. She was told in the past that she would definitely not be able to carry a pregnancy to term; however, Mrs. Blue really wanted a child and initially was hopeful she could make it work. Unfortunately, about six weeks into the pregnancy, Mrs. Blue starts bleeding and feeling ill. She makes the difficult decision to terminate the pregnancy, as it is almost certain to miscarry or else result in significant morbidity to herself and/or the baby.
However, due to her significant medical issues, Mrs. Blue is told that she needs medical clearance prior to the abortion. She quickly makes an appointment with her PCP Dr. Green. Dr. Green knows Mrs. Blue's significant medical history, knows she is already bleeding, but at the appointment refuses to give her medical clearance because she feels abortion is wrong.
This appointment occurs on a Friday and now Mrs. Blue must wait through the entire weekend to see her specialist to get clearance. Unfortunately, she does not make it through the weekend, starts hemorrhaging on Sunday, and has to have a hysterectomy.
Should Dr. Green feel responsible for this turn of events? If there are complications involved, should Dr. Green be subject to lawsuit?
(Some variation on this happened to a woman I know.)