“Don’t Jail Doctors for Healing Patients,” Texas Physicians Tell Governor Abbott

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In the past few weeks the State of Texas has issued orders that sharply limit the ability of the state’s physicians to take care of their patients, according to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), which has written a letter urging Gov. Greg Abbott to revoke these harmful rules. Penalties for violating the order include fines, confinement in jail, or both fines and confinement.

AAPS writes: “Countless numbers of patients have been prevented from obtaining medically necessary care for a prolonged period. For example, your shutdown order has interfered with basic medical operations by surgeons, biopsies for women with breast cancer, and even simple out-patient care related to hormone treatment.”

“Never before in U.S. history have patients and physicians faced greater danger from bad policy generated from good intentions of governments trying to help,” writes San Antonio ophthalmologic surgeon and AAPS president Kristin Held, M.D., in a separate statement.

Physicians in the state have reported to AAPS that they are already receiving threat letters from the medical board for performing what they consider to be medically necessary surgery on Texas patients. “This rule likely requires me to violate my Oath of Hippocrates,” explains a physician threatened by the TMB. Instead of taking care of patients, physicians are having to spend time and financial resources that are needed to pay staff and finance operations to fend off attacks from Texas Medical Board bureaucrats.

Dr. Held is one physician helping to lead the charge to stop this overreach: “We call on Governor Abbott to stop these totalitarian actions being taken against Texas surgeons.” Patients with painful, disabling injuries could suffer lifelong problems because of failure to treat promptly, she said.

Nine Republican States have kept their economies open, with access to necessary medical care, during this crisis, AAPS states. Why not Texas? In South Dakota, the Republican Governor Kristi Noem has obtained enough hydroxychloroquine for early treatment of its residents against coronavirus, but Texas has not done this for its residents.

The AAPS letter concludes: “Continuing the current shutdown of the medical industry, and punitive investigations against physicians simply for treating patients, is serving no public policy interest; it is contrary to the best interests of Texans.”            

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) has represented physicians of all specialties in all states since 1943.