Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Subtle Conflict

Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 2 Cor 11:14

Dr. Mack was a new Christian doctor in practice. He started out like most doctors, referring patients for consultation to those whom his partners recommended. Gradually, his referral preferences drifted toward those who referred patients to him, realizing that these doctors would reciprocate. Then, one night his sister called him, asking for the best doctor to perform a procedure for her. After he had discussed the problem and made his recommendation, Dr. Mack realized that the doctor to whom he referred his sister was not the one to whom he normally referred his patients.

Conflict of interest is a subtle beast. None of us as Christian doctors would ever offer inferior care to our patients knowingly in order to increase our profits. But conflict of interest is far more subtle than that. It sneaks into our referral patterns as we consider doctors and diagnostic centers. It slides between our pens and paper when we order procedures and between the fork and beef when we eat a pharmaceutical meal. It slithers from doctor to doctor in the room where we calculate our business plans. We are rarely conscious that we have been influenced until we look back and see how our practice has changed.

How do we as Christian doctors protect ourselves from this subtle and nearly invisible serpent?

  1. Be aware: we are vulnerable and we are sinners.
  2. Remember our covenant: as Christian doctors we work within a covenant relationship to provide the best care always for our patients.
  3. Be vigilant: we periodically need to reevaluate our practice patterns, including referrals, charges, frequency of visits and ordering practices.
  4. Be accountable: if there are any areas of gray, seek counsel. Discuss it with your Christian colleagues. Call CMDA--our leaders will be happy to work with you to sort through the subtleties.

Dear God,

Help me to keep my patients’ well being ahead of my own. Bless my business that it may succeed in the way that You define success. Amen

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