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Rules on doctors dating patients

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Sexual or romantic interactions between physicians and patients detract from the goals of the physician-patient relationship, may exploit the vulnerability of the patient, may obscure the physician's objective judgment concerning the patient's health care, and ultimately may be detrimental to the patient's well-being....Sexual or romantic relationships between a physician and a former patient may be unduly influenced by the previous physician-patient relationship.

Also, the AMA is silent here about former lovers becoming current patients. Colorado's Medical Practice Act specifies a six-month "waiting period" after a professional relationship has ceased before a sexual one may begin.Trust is therefore essential: the GMC describes it as the foundation of the doctor-patient partnership.“Patients should be able to trust that their doctor will behave professionally towards them during consultations and not see them as a potential sexual partner,” it says.Our contemporary attitude toward such encounters is to label them, categorically, as "unprofessional conduct." Given that there is no surveillance of this behavior, physician-patient sex comes to the attention of regulatory agencies only when the patient complains. The nominal standard establishes a rule of "no overlap": a physician-patient relationship must not coexist with a romantic-sexual relationship.The AMA says: "Sexual contact that occurs concurrent with the physician-patient relationship constitutes sexual misconduct.But why do the GMC and the media take such an interest in a relationship between two apparently consenting adults?

The answer lies in the unique nature of the doctor-patient relationship and the power imbalance in that relationship.

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Is it okay for me to call him “Howard” if he’s calling me “Stan?

Brant Inman, vice chief of urology at Duke Medicine, who said: “I think each doctor-patient relationship is different, and some social intelligence is required for establishing what should be normal for each relationship.” In other words, both docs and patients need to factor in age, gender, and yes, “advanced degrees.” That being said, here’s a primer for doctors (and then patients): In the end, the best way to deal with this question — whether you’re the doctor or the patient — is to ask yourself: What’s most respectful?

If you answer that honestly, you really can’t go wrong.