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Monday, June 14, 2010

Getting Physicians in your Family Involved in Your Care

Back to one of my favorite topics...(take our poll at the top left of the blog page)...whether it is a good idea for a physician in your family to be involved in your medical care. Clearly for people with physicians in their families, this occurs a lot. See, for example, this study about neurologists, most of whom prescribed for themselves and their family members. Or the 1991 study by LaPuma, showing that physicians on staff in a community hospital reported frequently treating family members. It is interesting that despite the commonly held ethical guideline that physicians should not treat their family members or should exercise care in doing so doing to many reported pitfalls, there has been no empirical data on this topic telling us if people tend to do better or worse than expected if treated by family members. Will someone do a study about this, please?

Whether we believe that physicians should actually administer treatment, such as prescription, or do surgery on family members, or actually do diagnostic tests, a physician in the family can often provide excellent advice about what to do next or whom to see or where to go for treatment. It is simply foolhardy not to take advantage of medical expertise in your own family, particularly if the physician is a relative you are close to and there is mutual familial feeling and caring between you.

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