I just finished reading Dr. Gary Small’s book, The Naked Lady Who Stood On Her Head.
In the final chapter of the book, Dr. Small talks about his mentor, friend, and father figure who’s mentioned throughout the book. The mentor approaches him on the golf course, where they meet to talk, and says he needs psychotherapy and Small is the man to do it. The author is surprised, hesitant, and a bit uncomfortable with the demand (it comes as more than a request.) His wife likens it to the need for a plumber or a dentist, and Dr. Small takes on the task. The mentor calls all the shots: Where the meetings will be, what pastry they will eat, the form of his payment. The author initially misses the diagnosis and uses this as an example of how one can be blinded.
So is it okay for a friend to treat a friend? Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Shrink Rap*
Should you friend your doctor on Facebook? It’s a question that’s gaining increasing relevance as Facebook increases its social networking dominance. I’ve touched upon the issue in the past. So has the New England Journal of Medicine.
Washington, DC, physician Katherine Chretian gives her take on the issue in a recent USA Today op-ed. She is an expert of the Facebook-medicine intersection, having authored a JAMA study on the issue.
She says, no, doctors should not be friending their patients:
Having a so-called dual relationship with a patient — that is, a financial, social or professional relationship in addition to the therapeutic relationship — can lead to serious ethical issues and potentially impair professional judgment. We need professional boundaries to do our job well.
Furthermore, there’s the little matter of patient privacy and HIPAA. I wasn’t aware of this, but simply becoming Facebook friends with patients can infringe upon uncertain ground. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at KevinMD.com*