Dating my doctor


02-Mar-2020 20:39

You would think that these would be OK, so long as the physician did not abuse the relationship.

But the AMA takes the position that ending the professional relationship may not be enough: a relationship still may violate professional ethics "if the sexual contact occurred as a result of the use or exploitation of trust, knowledge, influence, or emotions derived from the former professional relationship." When would this be the case?

While concern focused originally on relationships between patients and psychiatrists, it is now generally recognized that the problem extends to non-psychiatric physicians as well. Suppose a state medical board seeks to discipline a physician for having an affair with a patient, but both the patient and the physician insist that the patient consented to the relationship. In an article in JAMA announcing the policy, the Council rejected the position that sexual relationships should be permitted with the patient's consent on the ground that "the relative position of the patient within the professional relationship is such that it is difficult for the patient to give meaningful consent to such behavior." It is interesting that the AMA categorically condemns sexual relationships to which patients allegedly consent.

The American Bar Association, for example, although taking a dim view of these relationships, does not absolutely rule out the possibility that a client has given effective consent: The lawyer may be called upon in a disciplinary or other proceeding to show that the client consented, that the consent was freely given based on full and reasonable disclosure of the risks involved, and that any ensuing sexual relationship did not in any way disadvantage the client in the representation; that is, the attorney's judgement remained independent, the representation proceeded free of conflicts, the privilege was not compromised and the other ethical obligations to the client were fulfilled.

Perhaps it would be too expensive or time-consuming to scrutinize the propriety of these relationships and the effectiveness of consent on a case-by-case basis.

For example, the Supreme Court of the United States has upheld maximum age limits for police officers against the challenge that they violate the Constitution by depriving the officers of the ability to show that they in fact are physically capable of doing the job past the age cut-off.

If neither of you take action because of fear of rejection, NOTHING HAPPENS. Knowing that you like each other but don’t have the guts to do something? There’s no reason for you to show up at the lake and hope he’s there.

Sexual relationships with patients are problematic, not only because they may be unethical and may compromise patient care, but because they may lead to civil actions for damages, criminal actions, and disciplinary proceedings by state medical boards. Consent is not a defense to a charge of statutory rape or sexual imposition on a minor. The American Medical Association Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs states categorically that "[s]exual contact that occurs concurrent with the physician-patient relationship constitutes sexual misconduct" (Opinion 8.14).

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Although he has not been direct, the way he looks at me suggests he is interested. Do you realize that men take that risk every single day? That it’s their societally ingrained job to introduce themselves to women and set themselves up for rejection? I just think that risk and rejection is something that many women could stand to experience themselves.

Moreover, courts have indicated that, despite the physician's greater power within the relationship, they are willing to consider on a case- by-case basis whether to uphold agreements between patients and physicians in which the patient agrees not to sue the physician for malpractice.



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