I think its reasonable for a physician to say no to caring for certain patients if they feel they would be prejudiced/conflict of interest and might not be objective and professional in their care.
Who would want a doctor (or a nurse) who might not have your best interest at heart? Honesty is probably the lesser of two evils in this situation. If your heart says you cannot provide basic care for someone, for personal reasons whatever, isn't it best for everyone involved to refer to a more appropriate provider?
I think most nurses can relate to being in this kind of situation and asking coworkers support and most of us reciprocate.If a certain family member is hostile to me I would prefer to change assignments. Nor do I have to acept abuse (altho hospitals would prefer I do so...in an angel of mercy fashion <sigh>) Changing providers would likely be in everyone's best interest if its an individual conflict; but yes, I know sometimes we just 'trade off' with difficult patients and families we have today.
But then again I don't see healthcare as a 'right' I or a doctor must provide...it is a privilege IMO. This 'right' business is why we have so many hostile patients and families today IMO. It did NOT used to be this way in years past. Why is it when something becomes a 'right' civility and respect seem go by the wayside?
Of course docs who refuse to treat attorney's family members are just asking for lawsuits and hopefully they're up for that battle.But if they feel strongly they can't provide objective care they may win.
It'll be interesting to see how these cases come out.