home
RSS
Why doctors shouldn't treat family members
January 9th, 2012
09:55 AM ET

Why doctors shouldn't treat family members

Anthony Youn, M.D., is a plastic surgeon in Detroit. He is the author of “In Stitches,” a humorous memoir about growing up Asian American and becoming a doctor.

Imagine you are a highly skilled surgeon. Then imagine that your grandson gets into a terrible car accident and suffers serious internal injuries.

The injuries are so severe that he needs a physician to operate on him immediately. Even though a qualified surgeon is ready, willing and able to perform his surgery, do you ask that surgeon to step aside and operate on your grandson yourself?

This was a dilemma that a colleague of mine encountered several years ago. At this moment of crisis, he faced the choice that physicians face all the time: Do you give medical care to your family members or leave it up to other doctors?

Not wanting to put Joey’s life into another surgeon’s hands, Dr. Sanders decided to operate on his grandson himself.

Joey died several hours later in the operating room.

A 1991 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 99% of the 465 physicians surveyed received requests from family members for medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. Eighty-three percent prescribed medications for a family member, 80% diagnosed medical illnesses, 72% performed physical examinations, 15% acted as a family member’s primary doctor, and 9% performed surgery on a family member.

Bottom line: physicians often treat family members. But does that make it right?

Not according to most physicians and physician associations. The American Medical Association’s Code of Medical Ethics: Opinion 8.19 states that “physicians generally should not treat themselves or members of their immediate families.” The American College of Physicians Ethics Manual states that “physicians should avoid treating themselves, close friends, or members of their own family.” William Beaumont Hospital, where I operate and act as associate professor of surgery, forbids surgeons from operating on family members.

As physicians, we are taught to hold the doctor–patient relationship sacred and to keep a proper professional boundary between us and our patients. In this way, we can prevent emotions from clouding medical judgment.

Obviously, emotions play a role when it comes to family. I react very differently when one of my children gets hurt than I do when I see an injured patient in my office. I can easily fall into my nervous “Daddy” mode and step out of my confident “Doctor” mode.

In an extreme case such as Dr. Sanders and his grandson, any less-than-acceptable medical outcome can do more than strain the doctor-patient relationship. It can tear a family apart.

Yet, so many physicians - including plastic surgeons - insist on treating family members. I know of many male plastic surgeons who have performed breast augmentations, tummy tucks, and facelifts on their wives. I suspect there are several reasons for this.

First, as surgeons, we are supremely confident in our training and skills and worry that another surgeon might not do as good a job as we would. Second, performing the surgery ourselves can save a lot of money. Third, and most disturbing, some plastic surgeons use their spouses as living billboards for their work. To them, there is no better advertisement than showing off their fifty-year-old spouse who now kind of resembles Pam Anderson.

Yuck.

Full disclosure: Other than removing a mole or two, I’ve never operated on my wife and I never will. I consider myself a highly skilled surgeon, I’ve been known to be a teeny bit frugal, and I’ve purchased advertising for my practice in the past.

However, the potential risk of a devastating situation like Dr. Sanders’ is reason enough for me to avoid performing surgery on my wife. Well, this and one other major factor - I have no desire to see her insides.

I’ll leave that to another doctor.


soundoff (1,001 Responses)
  1. Camper Repair Shops Near Me

    http://einbinders.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=rvmarketingexperts.com

    June 28, 2021 at 08:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Utility Van Repair Shop

    Very good info. Lucky me I found your website by accident (stumbleupon). I've book-marked it for later!

    http://fatma22315-001-site3.htempurl.com/fr-fr/Home/ChangeLang?Lang=en-US&ReturnUrl=http://ocrvcenter.com/

    June 28, 2021 at 13:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. 2800 Suspension Repair Sprinter Van

    http://mailer.hosteam.fr/compteur.php?val=20594-523931&url=https://ocrv.club/

    June 28, 2021 at 17:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Van Body Shop

    https://turkmenportal.com/banner/a/leave?url=https://www.www.ocrvmotorcoachsales.com

    June 28, 2021 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Sprinter Repair Orange County

    Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Spending some time and actual effort to produce a great articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I procrastinate a whole lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.

    https://www.allretailjobs.com/cgi-local/out.cgi?track=seasonal2016-seasonal-fp&url=http://ocrvmotorsports.us

    June 28, 2021 at 18:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Margarita

    Hello there! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with Search Engine Optimization? I'm trying to get my blog to
    rank for some targeted keywords but I'm not seeing very good results.
    If you know of any please share. Cheers!

    Feel free to surf to my web page download 918kiss plus ios (Margarita)

    June 28, 2021 at 19:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Mercedes Sprinter Service Center

    https://pdcn.co/e/ocrvluxurycoaches.com

    June 28, 2021 at 21:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. RV Repair Shops Near My Location

    May I simply say what a relief to discover someone that genuinely understands what they're discussing on the web. You certainly know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people ought to read this and understand this side of the story. It's surprising you aren't more popular because you definitely possess the gift.

    https://www.thegioiseo.com/proxy.php?link=http://ocrvmotorsports.life/

    June 29, 2021 at 00:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Repair Shops Near Me

    After looking at a few of the articles on your blog, I really like your way of writing a blog. I book marked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back in the near future. Please check out my web site as well and tell me your opinion.

    https://kauppa.waltti.fi/redirect-to-lang/?lang=fi&url=http://www.ocrvmotorsports.net/

    June 29, 2021 at 03:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. RV Repair Shop

    You ought to take part in a contest for one of the greatest sites on the internet. I am going to highly recommend this website!

    https://booklet.sugester.pl/app/automation/campaigns/lociYOSE9e5bx-n0X1ysiQ==/trigger?c=1&cid=wOBUMmvndxKnJhngmdAG&r=http://ocrvmotorsports.biz/

    June 29, 2021 at 04:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Repair

    That is a good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise infoÖ Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!

    https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/recipe/1304991/2?mbid=HDFD&trackback=http://ocrv.org/

    June 29, 2021 at 04:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. RV Repair Orange County California

    I used to be able to find good advice from your blog articles.

    http://today.od.ua/redirect.php?url=https://www.ocrvmotorsports.info/

    June 29, 2021 at 08:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RV Repair Near Me

    http://www.tces.hlc.edu.tw/dyna/netlink/hits.php?id=286&url=https://newrvowners.com

    June 29, 2021 at 10:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Sprinter Repair Orange County

    Hi! I simply wish to offer you a big thumbs up for the excellent information you have got right here on this post. I will be returning to your blog for more soon.

    https://www.igive.com/isearch/NonStoreExit.cfm?type=1&isid=0df7d37f-4feb-4f0f-b472-1df60f43914d&rurl=http://ocrvandtrucks.com

    June 29, 2021 at 11:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. 2006 Sprinter Climate Control Repair

    Hello there, I believe your web site could possibly be having browser compatibility issues. Whenever I take a look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in I.E., it has some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Aside from that, great site!

    https://www.jahbnet.jp/index.php?url=http://ocrvmotorsports.co/

    June 29, 2021 at 13:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. 2800 Suspension Repair Sprinter Van

    An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker who has been conducting a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered me lunch simply because I discovered it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to talk about this subject here on your web site.

    http://ytygroup.minebizs.com/Whatsapp?m=0&p=3f66a472-472c-4ec4-ae48-20d9dc2a8aa8&c=127c108a-5384-4001-849c-1d3282861335&url=http3A2F2Focrvcenter.com

    June 29, 2021 at 15:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Mercedes Sprinter 3.0 Intake Runner Repair

    I must thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this website. I am hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts from you later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my very own blog now 😉

    http://www.deri-ou.com/url.php?url=https://sprintervanrepairnearme.com

    June 29, 2021 at 17:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Promaster Van Conversion Shop Near Me

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thanks, However I am experiencing issues with your RSS. I donít understand the reason why I can't join it. Is there anyone else getting the same RSS issues? Anyone who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

    http://ww31.dxnnet.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=sprintervanrepairnearme.com/

    June 29, 2021 at 18:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. RV Repair California

    Iím amazed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog thatís both educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy I stumbled across this during my hunt for something relating to this.

    http://www.365sekretov.ru/redirect.php?action=url&goto=theocrv.com/

    June 29, 2021 at 19:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Mercedes Sprinter Brake Caliper Repair Kit

    I love it when individuals come together and share ideas. Great blog, continue the good work!

    https://www.sporteasy.net/redirect/?url=https://sprinterrepairnearme.com

    June 29, 2021 at 21:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Sprinter Repair Near Me

    http://ladda-ner-spel.nu/lnspel_refer.php?url=https://ocrvart.com/

    June 30, 2021 at 01:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. RV Repair Around Me

    http://arrowscripts.com/cgi-bin/a2/out.cgi?id=66&l=bigtop&u=https://ocrv.pro/

    June 30, 2021 at 05:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Authorized Mercedes Benz Service Centers Near Me

    Howdy! I could have sworn Iíve been to your blog before but after going through a few of the articles I realized itís new to me. Regardless, Iím certainly pleased I discovered it and Iíll be bookmarking it and checking back frequently!

    http://searchingmagnified.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=sprinterrepairnearme.com/

    June 30, 2021 at 05:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Sprinter Repair Shop Near Me

    https://mitsui-shopping-park.com/lalaport/ebina/redirect.html?url=https://www.ocrv.biz/

    June 30, 2021 at 06:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. https://thuocladientu123.com

    Best view i have ever seen !

    https://images.google.com.ph/url?q=https://thuocladientu123.com

    June 30, 2021 at 08:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Camper Repair Near Me

    https://www.5bty.com/diaoyong.php?url=https://www.ocrvandtrucks.com/

    June 30, 2021 at 11:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Best THC Gummies

    Hey, thanks for the blog article.Thanks Again. Will read on...

    https://www.kitsapdailynews.com/marketplace/best-thc-gummies-top-3-marijuana-edibles-on-the-rise-in-2021/

    June 30, 2021 at 12:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Nearby RV Repairs

    https://meditation.org.au/podcast_description.asp?feed=https://rvcollisionrepairpaintshop.com/

    June 30, 2021 at 12:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Camper Repair Places Near Me

    https://affiliates.streamray.com/p/offsite.cgi?https://ocrv.store

    June 30, 2021 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.