Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2222227
 
 

Footnotes (196)



 


 



Patients' Racial Preferences and the Medical Culture of Accommodation


Kimani Paul-Emile


Fordham University School of Law

2012

UCLA Law Review, Vol. 60, No. 2, 2012
Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2222227

Abstract:     
One of medicine’s open secrets is that patients routinely refuse or demand medical treatment based on the assigned physician’s racial identity, and hospitals typically yield to patients’ racial preferences. This widely practiced, if rarely acknowledged, phenomenon — about which there is new empirical evidence — poses a fundamental dilemma for law, medicine, and ethics. It also raises difficult questions about how we should think about race, health, and individual autonomy in this context. Informed consent rules and common law battery dictate that a competent patient has an almost-unqualified right to refuse medical care, including treatment provided by an unwanted physician. Yet the accommodation of patients’ racial preferences with respect to their choice of physician in the hospital context appears to violate antidiscrimination principles. How should we reconcile this apparent conflict between respect for patient autonomy and accepted notions of racial equality? Moreover, is the accommodation of patients’ racial preferences the type of invidious discrimination that civil rights laws were enacted to prevent?

This Article engages these questions through an evaluation of antidiscrimination norms, principles of medical ethics, and federal laws, including Titles II, VI, and VII of the Civil Rights Act. In so doing, the Article offers critical insights into why a form of discrimination that is prohibited in other contexts is tolerated in the hospital setting and draws important conclusions about the legal propriety and medical efficacy of this practice. The Article contends that the various titles of the Civil Rights Act offer no clear legal directive on this practice, and it makes the counterintuitive claim that although hospital accommodation of patients’ racial preferences appears to contravene antidiscrimination principles, it is not only consistent with our normative commitments to racial equality but, in fact, constitutes an effective means of alleviating race-based health disparities, improving health outcomes, and quite possibly, saving patients’ lives.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 43

Accepted Paper Series


Download This Paper

Date posted: February 23, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Paul-Emile, Kimani, Patients' Racial Preferences and the Medical Culture of Accommodation (2012). UCLA Law Review, Vol. 60, No. 2, 2012; Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2222227. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2222227

Contact Information

Kimani Paul-Emile (Contact Author)
Fordham University School of Law ( email )
140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 434
Downloads: 138
Download Rank: 123,583
Footnotes:  196

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo6 in 0.468 seconds