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Abstract In the face of evidence suggesting that there is a substantial incidence of sexual contact between physicians of all specialties and their patients, the medical profession and the courts have not yet reached a consensus regarding appropriate responses. Some commentators, including the American Medical Association, have urged bans on sexual contact during treatment and extensive restriction of posttreatment sexual relationships. Others favor looser restrictions, particularly after termination of the physician-patient relationship. These differences in approach stem from the varying importance given the two conflicting values involved: (1) protecting patients from being harmed by unfair manipulation by physicians and (2) insulating choices about intimate relationships from intrusion by society. We propose a model for balancing these interests that would bar sexual contact during the physician-patient relationship and for a fixed period after termination; thereafter, in most cases, sexual relationships would not be proscribed. A waiting-period approach of this sort is likely to diminish most of the harms that might result from physician-patient sexual contact and may constitute a template for the resolution of similar issues elsewhere in society. (Arch Intern Med. 1994;154:2561-2565) References 1. Campbell ML. The oath: an investigation of the injunction prohibiting physician-patient sexual relations . Perspect Biol Med. 1989;32:300-308. 2. American Medical Association Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs. Current Opinions of the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs . Chicago, III: American Medical Association; 1989. 3. American Medical Association Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs. Sexual misconduct in the practice of medicine . 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Archives of Internal Medicine – American Medical Association
Published: Nov 28, 1994
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