Florida Doctor Posts Sign Telling Obama Voters ‘To Seek Care Elsewhere’
April 2, 2010
(ChattahBox)—If you need the services of an urologist in the Orlando, Florida area, you would be advised to check your political affiliations at the door. Dr. Jack Cassell, a practicing urologist in Mount Dora and a registered Republican, is so incensed about the passage of the healthcare overhaul that he posted a sign on his office door directing Obama voters “to seek care “elsewhere.” Cassell’s heavy-handed display of anti-Obama venom, just barely meets his ethical obligation to treat patients, say experts. But Cassell claims he is merely invoking his free speech rights.
If Dr. Cassell’s plan was to seek media attention for his lawyer-wife, Leslie Campione, who is running as the Republican candidate for Lake County commissioner, he has succeeded. Whether it’s the type of attention that could win votes in the heavily Republican county, remains to be seen.
The doctor’s sign reads in full: “If you voted for Obama … seek urologic care elsewhere. Changes to your healthcare begin right now, not in four years.”
Cassell denies that he personally turns patients away, but certainly an openly Democratic patient seeking his care would have reason to worry. “I’m not turning anybody away — that would be unethical,” said Cassell. “But if they read the sign and turn the other way, so be it.”
Cassell, 56, also has a stack of copies of Republican talking points about the new healthcare law in his waiting room, urging his patients to read them. An additional sign is posted above the documents: “This is what the morons in Washington have done to your health care. Take one, read it and vote out anyone who voted for it.”
According to the report in the Orlando Sentinel, William Allen, professor of bioethics, law and medical professionalism at the University of Florida’s College of Medicine, says Doctor Cassell is right on the edge of what is considered acceptable behavior by a practicing physician:
“Allen said doctors cannot refuse patients on the basis of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or disability, but political preference is not one of the legally protected categories specified in civil-rights law. By insisting he does not quiz his patients about their politics and has not turned away patients based on their vote, the doctor is “trying to hold onto the nub of his ethical obligation,” Allen added.
‘”But this is pushing the limit,” he said.”
A constituent of Rep. Alan Grayson’s (D-FL) snapped a photo of the sign and sent it to the firebrand Congressman, who was appalled:
“I’m disgusted,” he said. “Maybe he thinks the Hippocratic Oath says, ‘Do no good.’ If this is the face of the right wing in America, it’s the face of cruelty. … Why don’t they change the name of the Republican Party to the Sore Loser Party?”
See the Orlando Sentinel for more.
h/t Steve Benen’s Political Animal
Photo Credit: Deirdre Lewis/Orlando Sentinel
(Update: A physician rating Web site, Vitals.com is filling up with mostly negative comments and reviews about Dr. Cassell’s sign telling Obama voters to seek care elsewhere, condemning him as a “right-wing clown,” with one commenter, saying “I wouldn’t let him cut my toenails.” A couple of comments are supportive of Cassell’s actions, with one commenter writing, “Finally! A doctor who isn’t afraid of the Obama mob.”