Dating patient

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On the face of it, a romantic relationship between a doctor and a former patient should pose no objection.

According to the American Medical Association policy, "At a minimum, a physician's ethical duties include terminating the physician-patient relationship before initiating a dating, romantic, or sexual relationship with a patient." In 2006, a new draft of the General Medical Council - the body that regulates doctors in UK- maintained that though doctors should not use their professional position to pursue relationships, it acknowledged that there might circumstances when dating an ex-patient could be permissible - something not covered by the previous 2001 guidelines2.

However once the professional relationships has ceased completely, it may be possible for a doctor and a former patient to have a fulfilling dating experience provided the new relationship is equal and emotionally healthy.

I answered before but I’m changing my answer because I think my wording was perhaps a little too casual and this is an important issue.**You never date a patient or former patient.

Almost all civil societies of the world uphold that the first and foremost responsibility of a doctor is to the patient’s wellbeing.

Dating or engaging in a sexual relationship with the patient thus becomes a highly sensitive issue in this case.

Likewise the British Medical Association advises: "As a general principle, sexual relationships or emotional dependence between doctors and their patients or the close relatives of patients must be discouraged." It further goes on to say that “Doctors who discover that a person with whom they are developing a personal or sexual relationship is also their patient should immediately cease the relationship or take reasonable steps to ensure that medical care is provided by another practitioner."2 There are several important reasons why doctor-patient dating or a romantic relationship is discouraged in most societies.

Joyce Robins, of Patient Concern, said: "I don't see any problem with it if they are no longer their doctor.Almost all developed societies prohibit any romantic or sexual relationship between a doctor and a current patient.The American Medical Association is unequivocal about this and under its Code of Medical Ethics 8.14, notes that, “Sexual contact that occurs concurrent with the patient-physician relationship constitutes sexual misconduct”1.Thus a doctor may be motivated to treat or withhold treatment to his/her patient in a way which is not entirely in the latter’s interest.In the process the patient may suffer and his/her well-being compromised which runs against all principles of medical ethics.

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