Dating a patient ethics 312sex chat


29-Sep-2015 14:33

For psychiatrists, it is a violation to cross the "patient-lover boundary" with any person who has ever been in the other role.

According to the American Psychiatric Association: "Sexual activity with a current or former patient is unethical....

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.

In an effort to refine how the "no overlap" principle should be applied, I'd like to throw a small monkey wrench at this naively simplistic construct.

Like the AMA, Colorado doesn't specify how long after a romantic relationship ceases a medical one might begin, stating only that they must not be "concurrent." Other states address — or do not address — this issue with varying degrees of explicitness.

Mental health professionals set even stricter standards.

A therapist who gratifies his or her own needs by exploiting a patient's vulnerability destroys the trust essential to treatment." The APA seems to imply that all sexual relationships are inherently exploitative. From the administrative justice standpoint, a "no overlap" rule is simple to administer and superficially unassailable. As a credentials reviewer, I've seen this clause invoked far more often by scorned lovers than by innocent parties.

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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.