Being a doctor is never as easy as it seems. The first thing that a doctor should take care of is the well-being of the patients. Also the doctors have to treat the patients with respect, regardless of their beliefs and life choices. Doctors should never discriminate based on their personal views.
In case a certain treatment or procedure is against your religious or moral beliefs, as a doctor, you should let the patient know about these circumstances and explain to him or her that he or she has the right to choose another doctor. In case the patient chooses to see another doctor, you should arrange for him or her to see a suitably qualified colleague that will take over your role.
You shouldn’t share your personal beliefs with the patients, including religious, political or moral beliefs because you would exploit their vulnerability.
According to the General Medical Council Laws in case you fail to follow these rules, you might put your registration at risk. There are also some other rules to keep in mind, and never forget that the personal beliefs and values as well as the religious and cultural practices are important both in case of doctors and patients.
The beliefs of the patients regarding several aspects of life could help them cope with pain or other negative effects of the treatment. These beliefs could also lead the patients to ask for certain procedures that may not be in their best interest, or they could refuse certain treatments that would improve their health.
The beliefs that doctors have affect their judgment on a daily basis, but it may raise concerns if the doctor in question has problems with recommending or carrying out certain procedures because of the personal beliefs.
Trust is the base of the doctor-patient relationship. If the patients feel like you are judging them based on their culture, religion, political views, values or other factors that are non-medical, they might find it difficult to talk to you openly and honestly about their condition.
In case you are able to talk about the beliefs of the patients with them, you could get closer to finding out the kind of treatment he or she needs. Nonetheless in case the patients prefer not to discuss their beliefs with you, you should respect this as well. In order to gain the trust of the patients you should respect their views at all times.
There are some situations where the personal beliefs of the patients affect the medical care. Such situations include the refusal of blood products in case of Jehovah’s Witnesses or the circumcision of baby boys because of cultural or religious reasons.
On the other hand, there are also some situations when the personal beliefs of the doctors affect the care offered. Such situations include the care of patients pre- and post-termination of pregnancy, clothing and other kinds of expression of culture and religious belief.
The presented scenarios are just examples, and there are many other situations when care could be affected because of the above stated reasons.