Can doctors dating former patients

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.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.

Ever since the Hippocrates Oath came into being, medical ethics have been upheld as an important part of the behavior of doctors in a community.If two adults who are not currently in a doctor-patient relationship and who are completely aware of their situation and their consequences desire to date each other, there should be no objections from any quarter.Doctors point out that since they make life and death choices every day in their professional lives, they should be trusted to have the wisdom and objectivity to make a decision affecting their personal life too.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.The primary argument in favor of the possibility of a romantic relationship between a doctor and a former patient lies in the fact that the wishes of two consenting adults should be respected.When a person’s physical and mental faculties are thus compromised, any relationship entered into is usually not from a position of strength and equality but rather weakness and vulnerability.

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