To All Regarding
Still pending in the California Legislation is SB 1782. This bill, if passed, further engages law enforcement in the regulation of medical practice, rewarding them with more powers of oversight of physicians and will only stand as an example for other states to implement. SB 1782 reflects what is found in the recently distributed "FAQ document" by the DEA. It shouldn't be unreasonable to be suspicious about that document, as their announcement last year about envoking "a balanced policy", saw a 20% increase in physician prosecutions.
Two principles of Medical Ethics doctors are sworn to, as stated in the Hippocratic oath are:
A physician shall respect the law and also recognize a responsibility to seek changes in those requirements which are contrary to the best interests of the patient.
- A physician shall, while caring for a patient, regard responsibility to the patient as paramount.
It's impossible for a doctor to meet these important principles if forced to follow what is required of them under SB 1782. Under this bill he will be required to police his practice for criminal activity on the part of his patients', which totally goes against the ethical obligation of setting the interest of the patient ahead of all other interests. Physicians will have to first assume a patient guilty, then go about proving him innocent. They won't be able to tolerate police and prosecutors reviewing their medical care whenever an ill person dies while receiving pain treatment. How long before doctors everywhere, intolerant of police and prosecutor's constant screening and review of their patients, abandon the sick instead of facing prosecution?
It's already happening. The fear of prosecution, when it comes to academic pain medicine, has already caused great confusion in the medical field. More and more physicians, are refusing to write prescriptions for pain medications because of what they have seen done to their colleagues nationwide. SB 1782 will only cause more professionals to stop prescribing these lifesaving pain medications, leaving many more patients suffering as a result.
It should leave us with these questions:
Are we willing to give up our autonomy and dignity when it comes to our medical care?
Are we willing to be approached with suspicion every time we go and see our doctor?
Aren't we entitled to be treated as a citizen equal to and not separate from any other citizen?
Shouldn't we be free of government measures which impose police duties upon our physicians?
Aren't we entitled to ethical care, in which we are protected from any intrusion from outside the medical field, such as law enforcement and prosecution teams?
What will it take to CONVINCE PATIENTS EVERYWHERE, if we don't speak out against this now, it will soon be implemented everywhere? Please write Governor Schwarzenegger.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
To send an Electronic Mail please visit:
"FAQ document" by the DEA
Pain Relief Network
September 8, 2004
To Supporters of SB 1782