There’s an interesting piece today on Salon written by pediatrician Rahul Parikh, MD, that delves into the question of whether or not doctors should treat their own family and friends. While it’s common to see this play out in movies and medical dramas, the practice is officially frowned upon and most medical associations and state boards consider it a form of professional misconduct. Parikh says it’s often hard to turn down a friend or relative, but saying no is the best way to ensure that your loved ones get the most effective care:
There are exceptions, like actual emergencies, but as a rule we doctors need to get better at saying no when it comes to treating our friends and loved ones. And it can certainly help to be a medical expert when you're translating medical information and advocating for a loved one or friend. But boundaries are important. The aggressive urge to ensure that our loved ones are getting the very best, most medically advanced care often ends up doing more harm than good.