Doctor’s sign warns away Obama supporters
Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 3, 2010
MOUNT DORA, Fla. (AP) — A central Florida urologist has posted a sign on his office door warning supporters of President Obama to find a different doctor.
The notice on Dr. Jack Cassell’s Mount Dora practice says, ‘‘If you voted for Obama, seek urologic care elsewhere. Changes to your healthcare begin right now, not in four years.’’
Cassell told the Orlando Sentinel Thursday he wasn’t questioning patients or refusing care, because that would be unethical.
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‘‘But if they read the sign and turn the other way, so be it,’’ he said.
Cassell, 56, also provides Republican reading material in the waiting room — probably not a risky move, given that Mount Dora’s 10,000 residents and the surrounding area lean heavily conservative. Above a stack of GOP health care literature, a sign reads: ‘‘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.’’
A spokeswoman from the Florida Department of Health, which licenses physicians and investigates complaints, said Friday there was no law prohibiting Cassell from advertising himself this way.
‘‘Because there is no statute, there would be no grounds for a complaint,’’ spokeswoman Eulinda Smith said. ‘‘It would be legally deficient,’’
A University of Florida professor said Cassell is walking a thin line between free speech and professional obligation. William Allen, a specialist in bioethics, law and medical professionalism, said civil rights protections can prevent patient discrimination. But the law only provides for race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and disability — not political opinion.
Allen said Cassell may be within his rights if he doesn’t quiz patients about their politics and hasn’t refused to see anyone.
‘‘(He’s) trying to hold onto the nub of his ethical obligation,’’ Allen said. ‘‘But this is pushing the limit.’’
Cassell has been practicing in the area since 1988. His wife, Leslie Campione, is a lawyer and GOP candidate for the county commission.
Cassell says most patients have been extremely supportive, though three had complained.
‘‘They know it’s not good for them,’’ Cassell said.