Chaperoning becomes catch-22
Fam Pract Manag. 2005 May;12(5):21.
To the Editor:
“Should You Treat Yourself, Family or Friends?” [March 2005, page 41] got me thinking about a recent trip to China with my son's high school band. When my 200 fellow travelers found out I was a doctor, my hotel room (or the bus or elevator I happened to be on) became an exam room.
I had tried not to let on that I was a doctor, but these things have a way of being discovered. Mostly I did triage. The biggest decision I made was to replace a woman's lost blood pressure medication with a similar one available to us – after doing a brief history and physical. Another woman was hospitalized at my suggestion to rule out pneumonia, and the rest of the diagnoses were a variety of minor ailments such as URIs, rashes, labyrinthitis and twisted knees.
I'll probably be asked to chaperone other band excursions, and I'm not sure how to handle it. You can't ethically abandon your buddies while traveling, but you don't want to be bit later on. Any advice?
I would recommend keeping some record of any encounter that involved writing prescriptions for medication. It would also be good to make clear that you are making an exception to your normal practice of not treating friends because of the difficulties of accessing care in China. If future trips are scheduled to less remote locales, you might consider being less willing to act as “band doctor.”
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU
Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submission of a letter will be construed as granting AAFP permission to publish the letter in any of its publications in any form. We cannot respond to all letters we receive. Those chosen for publication will be edited for length and style.
Copyright © 2005 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact email@example.com for copyright questions and/or permission requests.
Want to use this article elsewhere? Get Permissions