Is your doctor Republican or Democrat?

In a new study published in the journal of the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Science”, Yale researchers have linked physician’s choices regarding patient care to publicly available information regarding their personal political views.

The study, using 233 physicians who did not know that the survey was about their politics, presented hypothetical scenarios involving politically charged issues. They found a significant difference between democrat or republican leaning physicians in how concerned they would be about an issue, or how likely they’d be to engage in potential treatment options.

For example, republicans were most concerned about issues pertaining to marijuana use or multiple prior abortions. They were twice as likely as democrats to discourage future abortions, and 35 percent more likely to discuss mental health in connection with abortions.

Democratic physicians also altered their care according to their political beliefs. Democrats were most concerned with firearm access and patients who had sexual relationships with sex workers. They were more likely to discuss firearm storage with patients who had young children in the household.

As discussed in ‘Unscientific America’, politics can help or harm scientific advancement, but they should not have a place in a hospital. Doctors and other care-givers should be aware of their own personal prejudiced, but should also be capable of administering proper care without being influenced by them. On the other hand, it is important for the patients to be aware of how a doctor’s ideological biases might affect their judgment and advice.  For example, a highly religious, right-leaning doctor may be hesitant to suggest an abortion even in high risk pregnancies.

The fact that physicians can be swayed by personal beliefs in providing objective care could have high reaching consequences. Could it potentially stop people from seeking care at religious hospitals? How could a doctor’s opinions change the care of LGBTQA+ individuals? As a society it is our duty to seek out and rid ourselves of these biases.

Source

-Jennifer Brees

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6 thoughts on “Is your doctor Republican or Democrat?

  1. One’s political affiliation reflects a person’s beliefs, values and attitudes. Our belief’s, values and attitudes are how we make decisions and craft our view of the world.

    Not sure where the idea comes from but we seem to think that all medical professionals provide the same level of medical care, with the same quality and same outcomes. Medical care is a personnel decision about where, what and who provides the care. Every decision is individual and takes one down a different path with a likely different outcome.

    A doctor’s political leanings are as important and his financial motives, education and experience.

    MC50

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  2. I completely agree with you all medical professions should be unbiased when caring for a patient, but in reality that is hard to do based on morals and values. It’s not just the medical profession that carries ideological views and biases it is almost everything. For example there are biases when it comes to education and racial differences. But, I found it interesting that this can be found by the political party viewed.

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  3. It’s sadly sort of an issue that we all seem to look past, isn’t it? It’s scary that doctors won’t provide certain information because they are biased on certain political beliefs. Medication shouldn’t be persuaded through politics, but it seems like that is often the case. I think that is very interesting, and I guess the only way to solve this problem is to find doctors who don’t let politics get involved in their career.

    Andrew Ebding

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  4. I find your post to be so interesting. I have worked with a few resident doctors before and even without them saying, I could definitely tell which ones leaned more politically to the left or right. This definitely changed how they viewed their work and their patients. It leaves me to wonder if someone similar or different than me might be better in helping me see the best treatment options for myself.

    Erica Bock

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  5. This is super interesting because I have never thought about this before but now that I read this it made me think about it. I think next time I go to the doctor I will be trying to see if they hint at anything.
    Lauren Reinhard

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  6. I agree that this is a problem for some people but I think that if you’re a physician your only concern should be getting people healthy and serving your patients. If your own personal beliefs get in the way then you shouldn’t be a doctor but in this day and age everybody is biased and aren’t objective which is a real concern for me. This reminds me of how the media nowadays is all either left or right and how the journalists only write what they want you to see and how nothing you read you can trust to be the whole story or if they’ve listed all the facts.
    -By Elizabeth Mullett

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