One of Boston's premier hospitals has implemented a code of conduct that could penalize patients for making comments about someone's gender or sexual identity if they deem it offensive.
Mass General Brigham's (MGB) "Patient Code of Conduct" includes a policy that ensures healthcare workers are treated with courtesy and respect but moves towards "politicizing healthcare," according to a medical advocacy group.
"Words or actions that are disrespectful, racist, discriminatory, hostile, or harassing are not welcome," reads MGB's "Patient, Family, Visitor, and Research Participant Code of Conduct."
And while it covers physical or verbal threats and assaults, sexual or vulgar words or actions, it also warns that patients who make offensive comments about others' "race, accent, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or other personal traits" or refusal to see a staff based on those traits could be "asked to make other plans for their care."
"Everyone can agree that racism, discrimination, and harassment don't belong in a medical setting, much less anywhere else," reads a statement from Do No Harm Medicine, an organization that fights "identity politics" in healthcare.
"The problem is that Mass General fails to define these terms, so there's no indication who decides what constitutes a violation. As we've seen, medical leaders are thoroughly steeped in woke ideology. They are likely to take a dim view of anyone who doesn't toe the party line," it continued.
Patients will have the opportunity to make a case for themselves if they have violated the policy.
The policy states, "If we believe you have violated the Code with unwelcome words or actions, you will be given the chance to explain your point of view. We will always carefully consider your response before we make any decisions about future care at Mass General Brigham. Some violations of this Code may lead to patients being asked to make other plans for their care and future non-emergency care at Mass General Brigham may require review, though we expect this to be rare."
But MSD makes no indication about how many infractions would determine dismissal from the hospital.
"Patients who repeatedly act in disrespectful or discriminatory ways may be asked to make other arrangements for care," but exceptions can be made, "including for extenuating circumstances, such as emotional distress or severe pain," Just The News reports.
"There's a very real possibility that patients will be refused care at Mass General," reads a statement from Do No Harm Medicine. "The only way to ensure they get treated is to give into the politicization of medicine, race, and everything else that woke ideology demands. Mass General should make clear what its policy really means before patients suffer."
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for MGB told CBN News the updated policy is a response to a rise in violence and hostile behavior toward medical professionals.
"Just as we strive to provide the best clinical care and experience possible, Mass General Brigham aims to be a safe, welcoming environment for both our patients and our staff. In response to the national rise in violence and hostile behavior at healthcare facilities, Mass General Brigham has implemented a systemwide code of conduct for our patients. Several of our hospitals have previously implemented similar guidelines. This new code of conduct, which we’ve been working on over the course of the past year, has been shared with patients and staff. It will be physically posted in our hospitals, and it is also available to the public through our website," wrote Noah Brown, Director of Media Relations & External Communications.
He added, "We recognize the threat of disrespectful, racist or discriminatory words and actions on members of our community. Just as we have policies for our employees and clinicians to treat each other and every patient and visitor with courtesy and respect, this policy helps to define appropriate behaviors for patients, family members, visitors and research participants."
Brown did not specify if misgendering or deadnaming, using a transgender person's birth or legal name, counted as code violations.
Editor Note: This story has been updated to include Mass General Brigham's response.