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Politics in the Doctor's Office

Politics can ruin friendships, marriages… we all have heard the stories or experienced this first hand. But can politics have an affect on the doctor/patient relationship? Will disclosure of political views change the dynamic as to cause harm on the patient?

Dr. Manoj Jain thinks this information can have some effect on the delicate relationship. He writes in his article “Elective Surgery Is One Thing, Elective Politics Another�, published today in the Washington Post, that politics should stay out of the doctor’s office. He lists several reasons, but one of the most important is that doctors and patients need to work as a team and conflicting views can make it harder for either side, especially if both sides are very strong in their beliefs.

In the article Jain talked to some colleagues to hear their opinion and each had a different reason as why we need to keep politics out of the office. The reasons ranged from it can cause elevated stress levels to the fact that in less than 20 minutes there are more important things to discuss.

Jain also talked with some patients to hear their opinions. One patient “feared that patients would be hurt if the doctor did not agree with their views�. Another one wanted to be treated for his condition and not take up the doctor’s time.

I agree with this doctor that there is a time and place to discuss the candidates’ views on insurance, but not in the short time in the office. Politics is such a personal thing, and I rarely discuss it with my parents or friends unless they are willing to keep on open mind- of course we all know this almost never happens.

article can be read at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/24/AR2008102403082.html