Racheal channelPosted on 2019 October
New guidance gets the balance right in stopping short of a complete ban In new guidance, the General Medical Council GMC has warned doctors to think long and hard before embarking on a sexual relationship with a former patient. 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. However, I do have one anecdote that might cast the situation in a somewhat different light. In this regard it is also essential to keep in mind that your state may itself have a time limit, such as 6 months in Colorado, after termination of the medical relationship before an intimate one may begin.
Moreover, courts have indicated that, despite the physician's greater power within the relationship, they are willing to consider on a case- by-case basis whether to uphold agreements between patients and physicians in which the patient agrees not to sue the physician for malpractice. Some doctors feel that the shoe is now firmly on the other foot. Remarkably enough, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario did not opt in and accordingly, there is no limited spousal exception that applies to physicians in Ontario. In some cases, such as when they are the parent of a child patient, they may make decisions on behalf of the patient about their healthcare. Any physician contemplating a romantic relationship with a patient should therefore bear in mind what may be leveraged against them in a disciplinary hearing or a lawsuit if that relationship goes bad.