2006/03/17

Are doctors practising age discrimination?

The sad state of healthcare in Canada is illustrated by a story in the Toronto Star. An MD in Barrie, Ontario, rejected a woman, 59, as a patient. The woman was told she was too old to be accepted. The doctor was not taking patients older than 55.

Apparently it takes a lot more to get on a physician's list than being first in line when a practice opens its doors.

The doctor in question denies that he discriminates against older people. He claimed he decided to limit new patients to those under 55 to ensure there was room for young families. But even more surprising than the doctor's actions is the response from a spokesperson for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario who said the College does not restrict a doctor's right to reject a new patient based on age.

"Physicians are free to choose patients who represent their special interests and skills, and can also reject new patients who are too sick or even too healthy," the spokesperson said. And this purports to be a professional association!

However, the college's website states that physicians should be aware that refusing patients based on factors such as age and disability without a valid reason could violate the Ontario Human Rights Code's prohibitions on discrimination. How do they square that circle?

2 comments:

Winston said...

When will the Ontario government intervene to deal with this human rights violation?

Jimmy Q said...

Our healthcare system is sick. Who will step forward to fix it? The doctor in question has made a serious blunder and so has the spokesperson for the Ontarion College of Physicians and Surgeons.