After reading a news story on how 25% of pediatricians are firing their patients, which in actually are the parents of their patients, because the families won’t vaccinate their kids, it prompts the question not only as to whether this is ethical but are there other reasons physicians might think about firing you as their patient.

Viet Nam: Asian Development Bank via Compfight

The reason some pediatricians are firing families is because they feel strongly about protecting children and feel that if the families aren’t going to accept their advice on what they feel are critical issues then they should find physicians who go along with their beliefs. Even though parents should have the right to decide what they feel is best for their children, some physicians believe that it will be harder to treat children that come down with easily preventable diseases, which also puts everyone else at risk.

Of course this issue isn’t only relegated to pediatricians. Even as physicians in some fields have more competition for patients, they’re starting to realize that they, like people in other businesses, have the right to decide who they want to work with based on certain criteria. While it’s never good for any physician to discriminate against anyone, there are some specific types of reasons why physicians might decide to fire patients, and those reasons are legitimate. Let’s take a look at some of these.

1. Medical decisions. If a patient is never going to take a physician’s advice or recommendations, it’s going to be a burden on the physician later down the road. The more critical a patient gets, the harder they are to treat, and physicians know it’s coming.

2. Financial decisions. Every business has to come to grips with the question as to whether it’s better to have a consumer that won’t pay their bills or better to let them go to someone else since they’re not paying you to begin with. Making sure physicians bills, along with hospitals bills, always get paid means you get to select the physicians you want to work with and that they’ll stay open while keeping prices lower.

3. Unpleasant behavior. Some people are horrible to deal with, and just because they may pay their bills doesn’t mean physicians have to, or will, take verbal abuse from them. Maybe they never clean up or have other disgusting habits. Sure, there are times when, in emergent situations, not everyone shows up clean and showered. But if they’re over the top every time they come, no physician will put up with that.

There are probably more reasons but these will suffice for how. If you wouldn’t put up with certain behaviors, why should your physician have to do it? Sure they work for you, but if they’re good physicians they have a waiting list of people who are hoping to have those same physicians treating them.

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