oa Current Allergy & Clinical Immunology - Is it ethical to treat one's family and friends? : ethics article

Volume 28, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1609-3607



Most health professionals would, at some time, have been faced with the dilemma of being asked for medical advice by a family member or friend. Usually the level of advice sought is innocuous, but sometimes people request a prescription for a condition such as major depression from a doctor who is not a psychiatrist. Other prescriptions are requested for an already established condition, such as diabetes or gastro-oesophageal reflux, that is being treated by another doctor. Sometimes doctors are consulted by family members or friends about significant medical problems. Many doctors, including paediatricians, treat their own children and I know of sick certificates that were issued for students and staff by siblings or parents who are doctors. Sometimes these familial relationships are not obvious because the surnames differ. Is there something wrong with treating family and friends and, if there is, at what stage may this become problematic?

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