If it is OK to fingerprint physicians, then why not do it to everybody?

LETTER — Posted Jan. 31, 2005

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Regarding "Criminal checks increasingly a fact of life for physicians" (Article, Dec. 20, 2004): I am a little disappointed at the fact that AMNews represented this article in such a one-sided manner. It seemed that it was a foregone conclusion that physicians accept fingerprinting for the greater good.

I reject fingerprinting as a matter of routine screening, and I believe it is an important privacy issue that does not evaporate just because I am a physician.

Why does it seem so easy for those of us who do make sacrifices for the greater good to forsake our own rights? Would the same lack of reaction occur if I were to suggest that in states that require a physician to be fingerprinted that all patients who come in for care be fingerprinted at the same time?

I am sure you can imagine the outrage if we were to try to fingerprint the population getting driver's licenses. Isn't there a security issue there as well? By the same argument, wouldn't the greater good be served if we were to forsake individual privacy at this level as well?

Daniel J. D'Arco, MD, Pottsville, Pa.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2005/01/31/edlt0131.htm.

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