WASHINGTON – Politics in the examination room? A recent study suggests that patient care may vary depending on whether the doctor is a Democrat or a Republican -., At least when it comes to some issues of topical health firearm safety
Health care has long drawn partisan political struggles, such as state laws regarding abortion, or Florida law restricting doctors discuss with patients weapons. But there has been little research on the doctor-patient side of these disputes. Can medical leave their own political ideology at the door for something as simple as a check?
So researchers at Yale University gave an initial step, looking up voter registration and linking more than 20,000 primary care physicians to their party affiliations. Then they surveyed more than 200 doctors about how they react to different scenarios -. Health problems that may arise when a new patient describes your medical history for a routine physical examination
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Suffering Depression? In denial about alcohol abuse? Riding a motorcycle without a helmet? political affiliation did not matter; The survey found doctors from both political sides would react the same to patients with these and some similar health problems.
but Republicans and Democrats doctors differed significantly when it came to some more political issues – abortion, marijuana and firearms, the researchers reported Monday
Faced with a woman who was not pregnant, but now had undergone two abortions early in life, Republicans doctors were twice as likely than their Democratic counterparts say they discourage any future abortions and 35 percent more likely to discuss the so-called mental health aspects of abortion, said study co-author Eitan Hersh, professor of political science at Yale.
Faced with a man who uses recreation marijuana three times a week, Republicans doctors were 64 percent more likely to say they discuss the legal risks of marijuana and 47 percent more likely to encourage them to cut that Democratic physicians.
And the Democratic doctors were 66 percent more likely to say they’d urge parents of young children not store guns in the home – while Republicans doctors, however, prefer to ask about the safe storage of weapons fire, they concluded the survey, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“This was really a revelation,” said Nancy Berlinger bioethical The Hastings Center, an independent research institute.
She was not involved in the study on Monday, but said it sheds light on the problem of “implicit bias” that affects people throughout society -. Trials are not aware of what
“We are all in some way biased. We can be biased for something and against something,” said Berlinger. When it comes to deep partisan divisions, doctors “can not detect it was like the rest of us can not filter out.”
account the safety of a firearm, a major public health problem especially for children, who often are killed or injured when they meet and play with a gun. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that doctors ask about the presence of firearms and advise parents who keep guns to store them unloaded in a locked box with the ammunition locked separately.
Berlinger said doctors could examine whether public health successes – for example, how, for decades, children’s car seats became mandatory and embraced -. Bring lessons in communicating the need to also keep children safe from accidental shots without the father decentralizes
When patients choose a doctor “who do not necessarily know what they’re getting before time,” Hersh said, noting that many other health problems, from transgender end-of-life care, may be affected by the political views of the physician.
He called the survey a first step to study the real effects in patients. (The study could not show whether the doctors had recently changed their party affiliation, and not include those who live in states that do not have registration by party.)
“Do not leave things at the door,” said Dr. Matthew Goldenberg, a psychiatrist at Yale and co-author of the research. “Patients and physicians should be aware that there are these prejudices.”
– Lauran Neergaard