Patients may be vulnerable—for example, those who have mental health issues or who see doctors at difficult times in their lives, such as during illness or bereavement.
Also, during a medical consultation, patients confide sensitive and personal information to someone they may have only just met, and doctors can ask a complete stranger to undress so that they may examine them.
9 February 2017 Your friend, who is also a doctor in the same unit, has posted Facebook photos of a drunken date.
You recognise the girl as an 18 year old patient who was under the care of your friend several weeks ago.
Sexual or romantic relationships with former patients are unethical if the physician uses or exploits trust, knowledge, emotions, or influence derived from the previous professional relationship." Note that this last statement leaves open the possibility that such relations might not be unethical if the physician doesn't exploit aspects of the former relationship.
Also, the AMA is silent here about former lovers becoming current patients. Colorado's Medical Practice Act specifies a six-month "waiting period" after a professional relationship has ceased before a sexual one may begin.
Sexual or romantic interactions between physicians and patients detract from the goals of the physician-patient relationship, may exploit the vulnerability of the patient, may obscure the physician's objective judgment concerning the patient's health care, and ultimately may be detrimental to the patient's well-being....
Sexual or romantic relationships between a physician and a former patient may be unduly influenced by the previous physician-patient relationship.
If you've sat on a credentials committee, disciplinary panel, or medical-licensing board, you surely reviewed cases of physician-patient sexual involvement.
Be that as it may, the survey revealed that the number of doctors who believe otherwise is growing substantially.
In the survey, 68% of participating doctors felt that having an intimate relationship with a patient, whether current or former, was unequivocally unethical and wrong.
Trust is therefore essential: the GMC describes it as the foundation of the doctor-patient partnership.
“Patients should be able to trust that their doctor will behave professionally towards them during consultations and not see them as a potential sexual partner,” it says.