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Austin Cline

Doctor Gives Wiccan a Religious Lectures Instead of Birth Control Pills

By December 12, 2005

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In Niles, Michigan, Amanda Blake visited a doctor in order to get a prescription for birth control pill. What the 18-year-old Wiccan received was not a medical examination nor even a prescription; instead, she received a lecture from the doctor on values, morality, and religion. Did she take a wrong turn and visit a church by mistake? No, just a bad doctor.

The Herald Palladium reports on the actions of Dr. Delbert Huelskoetter, who practices at the Southwestern Medical Clinic:

She said the doctor questioned her for at least 20 minutes about her moral beliefs, career options and religion, and charged her $68 for the visit, which she paid.

“Not one medical question was brought up,” she said. “He just talked about religion and charged me $68. I found out later he did diagnose me with depression because I cried.” “To me, it’s a basic right (to get pills),” the Niles homeschooler said. “It’s normal and responsible to get birth control. People make such a big deal about safe sex, and that’s important. I have no plans to go out and lose my virginity, but I want to be prepared.” [...]

Amanda said the doctor asked about her religious beliefs and whether she went to church. When she said she was Wiccan or pagan, she said the doctor looked “shocked and affronted.” He went on to ask her about her career plans, urged her to see a Christian counselor, and finally denied her request for a prescription for birth control pills, she said.

Southwestern Medical Clinic is evidently a Christian organization and, based on this doctor’s actions, it appears that they don’t have a problem with putting their Christian beliefs ahead of what should qualify as professional responsibility and medical ethics. Why anyone would seek medical care at such an institution is beyond me — if I want a religious lecture from a self-righteous person, I can get that any old place.

If it’s true that Dr. Delbert Huelskoetter diagnosed Amanda Blake with depression, then that could be a breach of medical ethics because it doesn't sound like he had anywhere close to the information necessary for saying such a thing. If this is indeed the case, I hope that he’s censured by state medical board for his actions as well as his attitude towards his patients.

This Christian organization, by the way, refuses to refund Amanda Blake’s money. This is how they exemplify Christian values: take a young girl’s money for medical care, then refuse to provide any actual medical care and instead lecture her about religion. They don't apologize for this because, as already explained, Christianity is evidently more important than medicine.

You know, I can't think of a reason to trust someone like Dr. Delbert Huelskoetter or an organization like the Southwestern Medical Clinic to competently or professionally manage the extraction of a splinter, much less take care of serious medical needs. I’m glad that the Blake family is publicizing this — perhaps if more people know about how little they can expect from the Southwestern Medical Clinic when it comes to medicine, they’ll think twice about going there.


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