Ethics of dating a patient
Recognizing that, the American Psychiatric Association categorically prohibits sexual relationships with either current or former patients. Others insisted the difference between a current patient and a former one - at least when it comes to romance - depends on a formal letter terminating the professional relationship. By then, in fact, Simon had already begun seeing someone else, a businesswoman named Ellen. This case, of course, is a rather exceptional one. What if, for instance, you are the only doctor in a remote community? Often times these are clear-cut cases of unethical behaviour on the part of doctors — perhaps even criminal behaviour. The discussion moves, however, from the realm of sexual abuse into the world of ethics. Historically, notes Gupta, doctors have been expected to deal with all stress that occurs in the context of their work and not show they need help.
But it must be ended beyond all doubt, for a substantial period of time, before a romantic or sexual relationship can begin. However, the fuse gets lit, the provider is going to be starting on the defensive. Historically, notes Gupta, doctors have been expected to deal with all stress that occurs in the context of their work and not show they need help. Ethicists say the distinction is valid. What if, for instance, you are the only doctor in a remote community? His girlfriend, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour some time ago, had recently died. Play in the same tennis league? But doctors are people, too. A patient may well have a closer, more dependent relationship with her auto mechanic than with the dermatologist she once visited to have a plantar wart removed. He got to know his first wife, identified in court hearings as Patient A, while treating her for depression. In the real world, each relationship is unique and complex and such rules, however well intentioned, may not apply to all cases. It is generally less frowned upon when a rural doctor falls in love with a patient, though ethicists still suggest that the professional relationship be terminated and, barring an emergency, that care be transferred to a doctor in a different community. This could lead to a patient seeking more from a doctor than health care. Similarly, a patient may not even remember the anesthesiologist who presided over his gallbladder surgery or the emergency department doctor who once stitched his finger. Sometimes the initiator is the physician, and sometimes it is the patient. Physicians sometimes have sexual relationships with patients, or with former patients. Just two days earlier, she had been crying into her cappuccino with her girlfriends, worried that she would never again find a loving relationship. Reprinted with permission from Medscape News and Features http: That changed in , however, though the council did update its guidelines to include factors a doctor should consider before going down that path. But sometimes, in certain contexts, considering certain factors, these affairs of the heart are a little more complicated. By then, in fact, Simon had already begun seeing someone else, a businesswoman named Ellen. This case, of course, is a rather exceptional one. But in , after 13 years of marriage, they decided it was time to end the relationship, which they felt had deteriorated beyond repair. This includes not only sexual contact, but also behaviour or remarks of a sexual nature. She was taken aback — gobsmacked, really. Does a coincidental meeting at a cocktail party where you engage in a personal conversation constitute the beginning of a relationship?
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