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Thus a doctor may be motivated to treat or withhold treatment to his/her patient in a way which is not entirely in the latter’s interest.
In the process the patient may suffer and his/her well-being compromised which runs against all principles of medical ethics.
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.
And one of the most significant aspects of this code of ethics regulating the medical community is the relationship between a doctor and patient.
A retired psychiatrist, now in his 80s, offered cautionary tales involving young patients who were extremely seductive during office visits.
There is little doubt that a relationship between a doctor and patient is fraught with complications.
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.
For one, the doctor is in a position of power over the patient.
On the face of it, a romantic relationship between a doctor and a former patient should pose no objection.
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.
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.