To the Editor:
I can’t help but respond to the article titled “Should You Treat Yourself, Family or Friends?” in your March 2005 issue [page 41]. I am a family physician who works full time in an emergency department.
Over the years, I have noticed a gradual but deliberate replacement of common sense with political correctness. Today physicians and nonphysician health care providers refer patients with simple complaints to the emergency department out of fear of litigation or uncertainty about documentation requirements or some other ethical guideline. It isn’t uncommon for an emergency visit for an ear infection to cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars depending on what tests are ordered. I’ve treated many of my children’s infections and saved thousands of dollars, not to mention several rads of radiation exposure. I don’t see anything unethical about treating my children, but I’m sure the money-driven health care system would not agree.