Doctors dating patients in arizona
However, even if you do not sue for malpractice, your doctor or therapist will still have to face a whole slew of legal issues.
Romantic relationships with patients violate the ethical standards of most medical professions.
For example, if family members seek treatment for an unconscious patient, the law assumes that there is an agreement between the doctor and the patient, even if the patient is unable to make any agreement.
A medical malpractice attorney can use this contract in any lawsuits for the victim.
Sexual relationships with patients are problematic, not only because they may be unethical and may compromise patient care, but because they may lead to civil actions for damages, criminal actions, and disciplinary proceedings by state medical boards. Consent is not a defense to a charge of statutory rape or sexual imposition on a minor. The American Medical Association Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs states categorically that "[s]exual contact that occurs concurrent with the physician-patient relationship constitutes sexual misconduct" (Opinion 8.14).
While concern focused originally on relationships between patients and psychiatrists, it is now generally recognized that the problem extends to non-psychiatric physicians as well. Suppose a state medical board seeks to discipline a physician for having an affair with a patient, but both the patient and the physician insist that the patient consented to the relationship. In an article in JAMA announcing the policy, the Council rejected the position that sexual relationships should be permitted with the patient's consent on the ground that "the relative position of the patient within the professional relationship is such that it is difficult for the patient to give meaningful consent to such behavior." It is interesting that the AMA categorically condemns sexual relationships to which patients allegedly consent.
Even without the threat of malpractice, a romantic or sexual relationship with a patient may end up costing a doctor or therapist his job.Under certain circumstances, however, a doctor may have an obligation to provide treatment even if there is no actual voluntary agreement.For example, hospitals accepting certain kinds of federal funds may be required to provide care to indigent patients under some circumstances.If a patient is mistaking feelings of gratitude for love, the doctor or therapist should bring an assistant of the same gender as the patient when seeing or treating the patient.The doctor or therapist should also make a note in the patient’s record.