As you’ve gotten to know your patients, you’ve developed relationships with them. Most of these relationships involve nothing more than friendly interactions based on the existing doctor-patient relationship. However, if you end up having a more intimate relationship with a patient or former patient, even if on a consensual basis, you could find yourself in hot water.
What does the law say about intimate relationships?
There are two statutory provisions that speak on this matter, both of which could come into play in your case. The first makes it a criminal offense to have a sexual relationship with a patient or former patient without first referring that individual to another qualified medical professional. A conviction here could lead to jail time and a fine, as it’s considered sexual exploitation.
The second statute allows you to be disciplined for having a sexual relationship with a patient or former patient. The only exception here is if that individual with whom you have a relationship is your spouse or someone with whom you have a domestic relationship that is similar to marriage.
What do you do if you’re accused of having an improper relationship?
When it comes to your medical license defense, you’ll want to start by gathering the facts. It may be possible to contradict statements that implicate you in a licensing violation, which could spare you from any sort of discipline.
If that’s out of the question, then you’ll want to work with the licensing board to see if there’s a way to minimize the impact the allegations will have on your ability to practice and the amount of damage it causes to your reputation.
In other words, you have options. You just need to thoroughly analyze your case and inform yourself as to the courses of action that you have at your disposal. With a strong advocate by your side, you’ll hopefully then be able to achieve a fair outcome that protects your future as fully as possible given the circumstances.