Can doctors treat family and friends?

Although these guidelines do not specifically mention friends, the reasons given for not treating family members apply equally to friends. Now the line between friendship and the formal doctor-patient relationship has been crossed. What you do depends on many individual factors, but rest assured that you are not the first healthcare professional to get in trouble. The problematic aspects of physicians' private referral practices have also been highlighted by the Medical Ethics Council in an article published in the Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association (1) The Medical Ethics Council supports the recommendations of other associations with codes of professional practice and recommends strongly to all doctors who are debating whether they should act as treating physicians for family and close friends who carefully consider the above-mentioned issues before making a decision.

Conversely, a strong focus on not favoring your family and friends can result in a failure to provide services that another doctor would consider professionally correct. This expectation may result in the physician not providing adequate information that allows the patient to make independent decisions on a well-informed basis. The same will apply if the doctor's examinations or treatment are to be used by other health personnel as a basis for such contact. Norwegian and international surveys show that approximately 99% of doctors say that their family members have sought medical advice or treatment, and 85-96% have prescribed medications for them (1,.

A patient who is treated by a doctor with whom there is a personal relationship, whether as a friend or family member, may not give accurate information or an accurate history, or seek a second opinion or alternative treatment, simply because he believes that it is inappropriate to question the care of a doctor who knows. In general, doctors are an understanding group and may find such requests difficult to refuse, even knowing that treating family and friends is frowned upon. The doctor's personal feelings toward the patient will easily influence their professional evaluation and lead to overtreatment or undertreatment. Holistic plastic surgeon Anthony Youn, MD, of Troy, Michigan, contemplated the propensity of his fellow physicians in his field by insisting on treating family members for CNN's The Chart.

For her, the key is to treat these people in the office and follow the same protocol followed with any other patient. Therefore, such asymmetry can arise in the private relationship between doctors and their loved ones when the doctor assumes the role of his treating doctor. I then treated the patient, but I didn't leave an easily accessible record to help the next care provider figure out what's going on. For many people, having a doctor in the family or as a close friend provides additional peace of mind, and most doctors have received questions about diagnosing or treating one way or another from their loved ones.

While treating family and friends can be convenient and, in some cases, also potentially cost-effective, doctors can face an extremely difficult balancing act to ensure that their own participation does not result in unnecessary costs or discrimination.

Norma Dickhaus
Norma Dickhaus

Lifelong food evangelist. Amateur food maven. Award-winning explorer. Extreme internet buff. Certified twitter scholar.

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