Professor Barry Furrow on Jan. 21 sought the endorsement of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Board of Governors for a Pennsylvania law that would protect the integrity of doctor-patient communications.
Furrow was one of three experts appearing at the request of the Women’s Law Project to endorse the Patient Trust Act, which aims to preserve accurate and candid communications between doctors and patients.
“The law will block the use by politicians of laws that either coerce doctors to mislead their patients—and in some cases, outright lie—or alternatively, gag them from having truthful conversations about their patient’s health,” Furrow said. “Politicians have even used legislation to coerce doctors into performing medically-unnecessary procedures— as is the case with bills that mandate transvaginal ultrasounds before performing an abortion.”
Advocates for the legislation note that some states have enacted laws that specifically require doctors to provide misinformation to patients, such as Alaska, Mississippi, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, where physicians legally must tell patients that a nexus exists between pregnancy termination and breast cancer, even though this link has been disproven.
The governors voted unanimously to support the law.
The director of the Health Law Program, Furrow is the lead author of the leading casebook on the topic of health law.