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But the AMA takes the position that ending the professional relationship may not be enough: a relationship still may violate professional ethics "if the sexual contact occurred as a result of the use or exploitation of trust, knowledge, influence, or emotions derived from the former professional relationship." When would this be the case?The only other guidance that the AMA gives is of little help: Relationships between patients and...What It Is and Isnt Nuclear medicine is the use of radioactive materials in diagnostic or therapeutic procedures, most notably treatments for various forms of cancer..
You would think that these would be OK, so long as the physician did not abuse the relationship.
Sexual relationships with patients are problematic, not only because they may be unethical and may compromise patient care, but because they may lead to civil actions for damages, criminal actions, and disciplinary proceedings by state medical boards. Consent is not a defense to a charge of statutory rape or sexual imposition on a minor. The American Medical Association Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs states categorically that "[s]exual contact that occurs concurrent with the physician-patient relationship constitutes sexual misconduct" (Opinion 8.14).
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. Suppose a state medical board seeks to discipline a physician for having an affair with a patient, but both the patient and the physician insist that the patient consented to the relationship. In an article in JAMA announcing the policy, the Council rejected the position that sexual relationships should be permitted with the patient's consent on the ground that "the relative position of the patient within the professional relationship is such that it is difficult for the patient to give meaningful consent to such behavior." It is interesting that the AMA categorically condemns sexual relationships to which patients allegedly consent.
Appelbaum and his colleagues, for example, propose three to six months.
This suggestion raises some peculiar practical problems, however.
(c) If they interact with patients on the Internet, physicians must maintain appropriate boundaries of the patient-physician relationship in accordance with professional ethical guidelines, just as they would in any other context.