Doctors May Be Silenced for Warning of Health Risks, States Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)

TUCSON, Ariz., June 29, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- After a distinguished 30-year career on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and the medical staff of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston, urologist Paul Church, M.D., was expelled from the staff for using the hospital's communication system to warn of the health risks of homosexual behavior. He had also reportedly voiced his opinion that BIDMC's pressuring its staff to participate in Gay Pride Week activities was contrary to BIDMC's mission to promote healthy behaviors and lifestyles, states AAPS.

BIDMC has a high profile for promoting Gay Pride and LGBT issues. A 2011 promotional video on "Making it Better" shows many BIDMC employees praising its policies of "inclusiveness" and "diversity," observes AAPS.

According to a timeline of events dating back to 2004 posted by MassResistance, which includes excerpts from communications by BIDMC and Dr. Church, the physician was not accused of any inappropriate or judgmental interactions with patients, staff, or colleagues. Email blogs, however, denounced his views as "ignorant," "hateful," "offensive," and "bigoted." His use of the internal communication system to respond to hospital communications was deemed a violation of "established standards of professional conduct," AAPS notes.

BIDMC, according to communications cited in the timeline, did not attempt to refute Church's statement that "behaviors common within the homosexual community are unhealthy and high risk for a host of serious medical consequences, including STDs, HIV and AIDS, anal cancer, hepatitis, parasitic intestinal infections, and psychiatric disorders." These risks are well known and undisputed, observes AAPS.

Educating people about the risks of smoking or obesity is required, but at BIDMC mentioning the risks incurred by "MSM" (men having sex with men) evidently constitutes "discrimination and harassment," and led to the equivalent of a gag order and eventual dismissal, concluded AAPS.

"All American physicians need to watch what is happening to Dr. Church (who is not a member of AAPS)," states AAPS executive director Jane Orient. M.D. "The penalty for making a truthful but politically incorrect statement that 'may offend' someone could be the ruin of one's medical career."

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a national organization representing physicians in all specialties, founded in 1943 to preserve private medicine and the patient-physician relationship.


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