President Ronald Reagan was the master of humor in politics. While talking about taxes he said, “For the Republicans every day is July 4th and for the Democrats every day is April 15th.” Of course, he never intended to smear the Democrats as non-freedom lovers. All Americans, regardless their political views and affiliations are patriots. We all love our freedom; we differ on how to exercise the freedom to make America a better place—a shining light on the hill.
We Americans love our freedom, especially the freedom to chose. We are blessed to be able to choose where we live, our line of work, what car to drive, and what kind of homes we live in (of course, within the confines of our means). We choose our spouses and our friends, but not our children—we get them by default.
There is nothing that stops us from choosing our religion or even no religion. We are free to express our minds and thoughts without fear of retribution. We can even choose not to testify if accused of a crime or felony, if we fear self-incrimination (isn’t that awesome?) thanks to the Constitution and the founders of this great Nation.
We actually have all the right to choose the doctor who will treat us when we need a treatment; however, many of us erroneously feel that we don’t have that right. I constantly hear patients and families complain that they were assigned to a specific doctor as if they had no choice. To my best knowledge, the only people who don’t have the right to choose their own doctor are prison inmates. Well, I need to correct myself. Incarcerated criminals do often demand a second opinion, which under the law of the land is granted most of the time.
So, in the name of this sacred day, July 4th, I ask everyone to exercise their right to inquire, read about, and seek the right doctor they feel might serve them better than the one they were “assigned to.” Even insurance companies honor the right of patients to choose their doctor, because they know it is a constitutional right. Exercise that sacred right.
Nash Gabrail, MD