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Health Care Provider Bans Patient for ‘Transphobic’ Views

A woman was dropped by her health care provider for “hurtful remarks” about a trans pride flag in the waiting room.

Marlene Barbera, a breast cancer patient at the Richmond Family Medicine Clinic in Portland, Oregon, was scheduled for a mastectomy in late August. But, in 2022, she wrote her doctor a note objecting to the trans pride flag in the clinic’s reception area using MyChart—an application that lets patients access and manage their personal health information and communicate with physicians.

Barbera thought the online communication with her doctor was private but was later told other staff saw her remarks.

Banned by Health System

This summer, while trying to schedule blood tests via phone, Barbera was informed by Oregon Health Science University (OHSU) Practice Manager Stein Berger via MyChart that “Richmond is an all-inclusive clinic, and we value and advocate for diversity,” and said Barbera had made “transphobic remarks” that were “harmful to our staff.”

Berger followed up and received an email back from the clinic.

“Effective immediately, you are discharged from receiving medical care at the Richmond Family Medicine Clinic,” said the email. “This action is being taken because of ongoing disrespectful and hurtful remarks about our LGBTQ community and staff. … Please note that you are also now dismissed from all OHSU Family Medicine clinics, including Immediate Care clinics.”

The notice also said the clinic would end all services to Barbera on July 29, giving her 30 days to find a new health care service provider. In an interview with Reduxx, an online platform, Barbera said the ordeal has been traumatizing.

“I have severe chronic agitated depression since my teen years,” said Barbera. “Now I have no primary care doctor and nowhere else to go. I have been made to feel like a worthless nothing.”

‘Put the Patient First’

Barbera’s experience speaks to the current social climate, says Roger Stark, M.D., a health care policy analyst at the Washington Policy Center and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute, which publishes Health Care News.

“I had a number of gay associates when I was in clinical practice,” said Stark. “They were all caring providers and always put the patient first. Plus, none of them made an issue out of their sexual orientation.”

The first problem, says Stark, is the fact a medical office would hang a controversial flag in the reception area.

“Again, I think this reflects the current way priorities are set,” said Stark. “For example, many medical schools now have a course on diversity in their curriculums.”

‘Responsibility to Treat’

Stark says it is notable Barbera had a 12-year history with the clinic, which has her medical records.

“If she was truly offended by the flag, she had the option of seeking care at a different office and avoiding further confrontation,” said Stark. “I’m not sure what she could have said that was so offensive, but it seems to me that a physician has a certain responsibility to a patient regardless of what was said. Obviously, this is a complex issue, but from my standpoint as a practicing doctor, the clinic has the responsibility to treat the patient.”

‘Tools of the Left’

There have been other free speech attacks, censorship, and cancellation of individuals who don’t toe the federal government’s line on medical matters, says John Dale Dunn, M.D., J.D., an emergency room physician, and attorney.

Many health care practices are owned by hospitals and big corporations, and they may be pressured into promoting LGBT+ advocacy. Corporations, for example, push policies to boost their “Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG)” scores to curry favor with certain investors and the government.  Mass General Brigham recently implemented a ‘patient code of conduct,” that put patients on notice that certain speech could cost them care.

“What happened to this lady is no surprise considering that the medical profession and their bosses in the corporate medical organizations are tools of the Left and will use medical care availability as a weapon to suppress freedom of speech,” said Dunn. “We are now in the thrall of a police state—not complicated—the people in power are going to crush any opposing voices.”

Kenneth Artz (KApublishing@gmx.com) writes from Tyler, Texas.







Kenneth Artz
Kenneth Artzhttps://www.heartland.org/about-us/who-we-are/kenneth-artz
Artz has more than 20 years’ experience in nonprofit organizations, publishing, newspaper reporting, and public policy advocacy.



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