Doctor-Patient Relationships

Oct 1, 2005 Issue
A Sex Offender as a Patient [Curbside Consultation]

Before addressing the particulars of this scenario, it may be helpful to review the current status of notification laws, which have evolved in the last decade. It is important to keep in mind that the presumptive purpose of community notification through registration is solely to inform the public, ...

Jan 1, 2005 Issue
Is This Patient Really Incompetent? [Curbside Consultation]

This physician is trying to balance his duty to the patient and the legally appointed guardian and finds it difficult to know how to approach the patient. The physician is particularly puzzled because of his “near-normal” interactions with her. This commentary will discuss the legal role of a guardi...

May 1, 2004 Issue
The Right to Know--But at What Cost? [Curbside Consultation]

This case scenario, submitted by the patient’s son, brings up three interesting ethical questions. The first question involves whether it is ever ethically justifiable to withhold information from patients, and if so, under what circumstances? The second question is: who decides whether invasive med...

Aug 1, 2003 Issue
A Shoe-in for Malpractice [Curbside Consultation]

The questions being asked in this case scenario can be consolidated into one, “Should I continue as this patient's physician?” An attorney's typical answer to such a query is often a cautious “It depends.” In this case, a more definite answer is appropriate: “No.”

Apr 1, 2003 Issue
Should I Give Money to My Patients? [Curbside Consultation]

As a rule, physicians should avoid giving money directly to patients. Like most decisions in medical practice, the determination to give a patient money must be weighed carefully, and each case must be evaluated individually.

Jan 1, 2003 Issue
Negotiating a Request for Nondisclosure [Curbside Consultation]

Although it is at odds with our predominant medical ethical culture, many families and patients desire nondisclosure of bad news. In several countries, including Greece, nondisclosure of difficult medical information is preferred.

Jun 1, 2002 Issue
Can Friends Become Patients? [Curbside Consultation]

The negotiation of boundaries in patient care can be a difficult process in many circumstances. Perhaps the thorniest negotiation is the one alluded to in this case scenario—how does a physician decide if a friend should be accepted as a patient?

Apr 1, 2002 Issue
Interviewing When Family Members Are Present [Article]

The presence of family members at an office visit creates unique opportunities and challenges for the physician while interviewing the patient. The physician must address issues of confidentiality, privacy, and agency. Special skills are required to respectfully and efficiently involve family member...

Apr 1, 2001 Issue
What Should Physicians Tell About Themselves to Patients? [Curbside Consultation]

This physician's questions fall under the broad category of what physicians should tell about themselves to patients and, in this case, what physicians should tell patients about their own illnesses.

Feb 1, 2001 Issue
A "Hopeless" Patient [Curbside Consultation]

The title of this case scenario is emphatically appropriate because it describes the intense feelings that obese patients and those with difficult, chronic lifestyle issues evoke in their physicians. The author aptly describes feelings and reactions such as frustration, cynicism about the patient's ...

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