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Can a Doctor Ever Have a Relationship with a Patient?

Posted on in Medical license defense

IN license defense attorneyRomance is one of those funny parts of being a human - we all think about it, we all need it to some extent, and we all have very little control over the time and place in which we fall in love with someone. Despite the current social taboo against people meeting at work, couples are nevertheless continuing to find each other at work and carrying on relationships, whether covertly or otherwise.

However, for doctors and other healthcare practitioners, the question of relationships at work is significantly more complicated because the relationships doctors most often see at work are not lateral - coworker to coworker - but instead are hierarchical - doctor to patient. In addition to the inherent ethical issues at stake, there are strict professional guidelines to which medical professionals must adhere. Failing to do so can expose a doctor, nurse, psychologist, or any other health worker to serious professional repercussions, including investigation, sanction, and even permanent loss of license. If you are being investigated for an improper patient relationship, it is essential to have a skilled professional license defense attorney protecting your hard work and investment in your career.

When Can a Doctor Date a Patient?

The short answer to this question is: Never. As long as the doctor and the patient share a professional relationship, there cannot be a romantic relationship of any kind between them. Any professional relationship must be formally terminated before a doctor and a former patient can engage in a romantic, sexual, or other dating relationship.

However, the ethical questions do not simply end with whether or not there is a formal professional relationship. There are also questions about whether the relationship is inherently biased in favor of the doctor, who must be very careful never to exploit a former patient’s trust, knowledge of their medical history, or other influence derived from the former professional relationship. Studies show that patients can misinterpret appreciation, respect, or gratitude for love, and for this reason, practitioners are generally required to wait at least a year before initiating a romantic relationship with a former patient.

Without following the proper protocol, there may be some question as to whether medical malpractice occurred. This is especially true if it is unclear whether the doctor and the patient were dating before formally terminating the professional relationship. A discontented partner, friend, or family member could make allegations of an improper relationship and the doctor may find him or herself defending against very serious accusations.

Contact a Professional License Defense Attorney

If you are facing professional consequences for an improper relationship with a client, get the protection and advocacy of an Indiana professional license defense attorney right away. At The Law Offices of Joseph J. Bogdan, LLC, we are committed to providing you with the best defense possible so you can continue practicing and avoid the kind of professional and reputational damage that can come with allegations of inappropriate relationships. Call 463-219-2612 today.



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