Citing Indiana Law, Physician Refuses to Treat Patients Complaining of Chronic Back Pain

Recently, the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” was passed in Indiana permitting professionals to deny service to potential customers under the guise of religious freedom. Citing this new law, “deeply religious” Emergency Physician, Dr. Joseph Grubauer, of Indianapolis, IN, has concluded that treating patients with chronic back pain violates his religious beliefs.

“For years, I have lived with the inner demons of my faith expressly forbidding me from evaluating patients with chronic back pain,” Dr. Grubauer explained, “This new law gives me peace of mind to finally express my deeply held religious beliefs without fear of persecution or termination.”

It is well known that chronic back pain can be the most difficult and mentally demanding of patient encounters. Pursuant to this, colleagues of Dr. Gruabauer have been skeptical about his motivation to suddenly announce his faith in such a fashion.  These colleagues describe Dr. Grubauer as a lazy opportunist who typically likes to “chart pick” and only see easy patients with ankle sprains and contusions and leave the potentially difficult patients, such as those complaining of chronic pain, to others.

“Last shift I worked with Joey, he only saw 3 ankle sprains, one knee sprain, one finger laceration, and one uncomplicated UTI,” complained an anonymous colleague of Dr. Grubauer, “I had to see all of the drug seekers, septic patients, and basically all of those patients who require any degree of advanced medical reasoning. While I respect people’s ability to practice their religion, what he is doing is obviously gaming the system”!

When asked exactly what religion he practices, Dr. Grubauer demurred, “I have a special connection to my personal deity. Part of my doctrine is not to share the source of my beliefs with anyone else, so I can’t clarify your question, other to say that this is how I practice.”

Dr. Grubauer went on to say that upon further study of his private holy texts, there is an indication that his religious beliefs may also prohibit him from seeing patients with dizziness, evaluating patients with psychiatric issues, and working nights, evenings, and weekend shifts.


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