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Are Doctors Violating Patients’ Rights?

March 11, 2009
SAN FRANCISCO - FEBRUARY 26: A doctor wears a ...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Doctors may be violating a patient’s right to freedom of speech by asking them to sign forms stating that the patients won’t make any bad comments about their physicians, regardless of physician performance or patient interaction.

Since when does the medical community get to set the standards for rights in this country?  Apparently they get to do this every day!

The author of the web rating site plans to fight back,

John Swapceinski, co-founder of, said that in recent months, six doctors have asked him to remove negative online comments based on patients’ signed waivers. He has refused.

“They’re basically forcing the patients to choose between health care and their First Amendment rights, and I really find that repulsive,” Swapceinski said.

He said he’s planning to post a “Wall of Shame” listing names of doctors who use patient waivers.

but asking patients to sign waivers of saying only good things is a grossly manipulative practice.  Already, doctors have the most power of any entity in our society.  Already people pay the most money for services where costs are not fully disclosed and people may not have a choice in (think about the parents who refused to treat their daughter for diabetes due to religious differences–the parents were arrested when their daughter died).  Patients who have an intent to harm themselves can be arested and hospitalized against their will, and even then the patient is still held accountable for medical bills they may not be able to pay and have no control over the pricing.

In no other contingent of our society are we as much of a police state as the field of medicine.  There is no other field in which people are forced under penalty of arrest and court charges for not following the advice or predictions of a profession.

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