Our doctor's office has yet another set of forms for us to fill out, and this one just has me wanting to throw up my hands and scream, "NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!" Plus, some of the questions make no sense, in some cases giving far more options than reasonable, and in some cases too few.

For "Ethnic Background" I am given these options:

  • Ashkenazi
  • No
  • Other
  • Unknown

I understand that there are certain diseases that are more prevalent among Ashkenazi Jews, so maybe that's an important question. But there are also diseases that are especially prevalent among other populations, e.g. the Amish, and there's no opportunity to indicate that, other than the non-informative "Other." And just who are the No people—an obscure tribe of Papua New Guinea, perhaps? And is my own diverse ancestry, which took up some dozen slots on the 2020 census form, of no medical interest at all?

One ethnicity gets its very own question:

  • Hispanic or Latino/a
  • Not Hispanic or Latino/a
  • Unknown or Not Given

I find that a curious question for a doctor to ask. Just how many diseases divide themselves by this criterion? If my lungs are congested, how much does it matter whether my ancestors came from Spain versus France? "Not Given" is beginning to look like the best answer for most of these questions.

There's a good deal more choice when it comes to Sexual Orientation:

  • Bisexual
  • Choose not to disclose
  • Don't know
  • Lesbian or Gay
  • Something else
  • Straight (not lesbian or gay)
  • (You can hold the CTRL key while clicking to select multiple options)

Frankly, unless I'm indicating problems of a sexual nature, I don't think even my doctor needs to know this information, though she's welcome to guess based on the fact that I'll admit to being female and having a husband. "Something else" sounds attractively bear-poking, however.

But even Sexual Orientation has nothing on Religion!

  • African Methodist Episcopal
  • Agnostic
  • Amish
  • Anglican
  • Assemblies of God
  • Atheist/Humanist
  • Baptist
  • Buddhist
  • Catholic
  • Christian
  • Christian Scientist
  • Church of Christ
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Decline to Answer
  • Disciples of Christ
  • Episcopalian
  • Greek Orthodox
  • Haitian Vodou
  • Hindu
  • Indian Orthodox
  • Islam
  • Jain
  • Jehovah's Witness
  • Jewish
  • Lutheran
  • Mennonite
  • Messianic Judiasm [that's how they spelled it]
  • Methodist
  • Multi-Faith
  • Nazarene
  • Non-Denominational
  • None
  • Orthodox
  • Other
  • Pentecostal
  • Presbyterian
  • Protestant
  • Quaker
  • Rastafarian
  • Russian Orthodox
  • Scientologist
  • Seventh Day Adventist
  • Shinto
  • Sikh
  • Taoist
  • Unitarian Universalist
  • United Church of Christ
  • Unknown
  • Wiccan
  • Zoroastrian

There are so many things wrong with this list I won't even try to ennumerate them, other than to mention that my Seventh-Day Baptist ancestors would be feeling left out. And to note that it's just plain weird to have so many choices yet list "Islam" as one-size-fits-all. For myself, being unable to choose among Anglican, Christian, Episcopalian, Multi-Faith, Non-Denominational, Protestant, and Other—and not having the ctrl/click option for this one—I might have to go with that fascinating new religion, Decline to Answer.

But really, of what possible importance could the answer to this question be for normal medical care, other than the above-mentioned correlation between being Amish and certain diseases? Even that is an ethnic difference, not a religious one. Do Wiccans require different cancer treatments from Zoroastrians? True, Jehovah's Witnesses don't want blood transfusions, so that's important to know, but I think it would be safer and more efficient to ask that question directly, rather than make the assumption. I suspect not all JW's reject them totally, and for all I know, some other religion frowns on them as well.

Maybe these questions are required by Medicare. I have had more patience with my medical caregivers (though less with the government) ever since I learned that the very annoying questions they started asking at every visit were government-imposed: Have you fallen at all in the last year? "I have grandchildren. Falls are the natural consequence of fun." Have you been depressed during the last year? "I'm here for a physical, not a mental."

It's a good thing we like our doctors. The bureaucracy is rapidly eroding my confidence in the system.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, August 27, 2021 at 11:30 am | Edit
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