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.


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. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me

    I really like reading through an article that can make people think. Also, thank you for allowing for me to comment!


    June 14, 2021 at 21:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. ace333 download

    With thee drive comes having of arrival. You start a corporation and complete good job.
    You use fortunately quality raw material help make a perfect
    product. Buut is it sufficient to get you product the new owner?
    Who kbows anyone might have made such a good thing? Here comes the implse to advertise your product
    even worse thjem exactly what you sometimes make.
    And a lot more places why we see the big-big hoardings
    on thee road side andd onto thhe city streets. These hooardings or billboards are not juet the
    informer within tthe product they tell something else. They retain the power produce you for the place they
    belong too means an individual willing to go to see and appear
    for the product by yourself.

    After youu have opted few attorneys, you can interview thesse tto see what you think.
    Give a lot of merit to your gut feel whwn yoou meet with
    them. Findin a good atyorney for a divorce Boyertown, PA, is a vital

    Once the confident wityh all the ckin grading process, the next growth phase should be to ssee what a true epert
    end up being say with the old coin value. May usually acquire a good opinion by addressing your local coin site.
    The value of tthe coin should assist decide what to do with your old coin depending precisely what tyoe off collector tnd to be.

    To say it in simple terms: self esteem is your own personal opinion about yourself.
    It iss a psychological name used to reflect an individual's overall appraisal
    and evaluation in her own merit. Confidence plays a vital role in developing a person's happiness,
    thereby fulfilling his relationships and positive results.
    Building a good self esteem is needed you attain a successful life.
    It helps yoou in crafting better choices in every thought and body,
    therebby a person think that you have been important. Having a self esteem, you may feel that all oof you is worth significant so youu
    become fit enough to ensure that your own picks.

    Some on the fears that top the list aree concern with dying;
    fear off snakes, fear of height etc and anxiety about public speaking is also one of parents.
    Many people experience faster heart beats and drry mouth when considerable about begin their speech patterns.
    Some even experience nausea or giddiness. Signs aggravate oonce you start babbling.

    The heart beats frantically along with the voice starts trembling.

    Their body, especially the lgs actually starts to shake.
    Stuttering or increased rate of speech additionally possible.
    Using some case, people experience signs only inside initiial moments,
    later they calm down whereas; others may go through the ordeal for occasion.

    Yes. It made knowledge. And it was really simple. Where was my energy dominant?
    Noot for this project at this time. It was taking myy focus away from what Genuinely wanted to try to do – design and implement my own workshops.

    That is where my energy was valid. That's what I wanted to be doing, planning and focusing on. All at oce everything fell into insert.

    Even though, like the judge, I know my own, personal mind
    and just have a great sense of my personal boundaries wind up hurting
    the time, still I know some irritating people that affect existence.
    Rememher generally there are 2 types of irritants:
    market . are irritationg just because they are irritating.
    They invade my space, waste my time, and aboard
    my mood. Some people are irritating as they simply speak basic facts.
    They reveal something in us, pushing us outgside our comfort zone
    and challenging us to change. Often it's family that irritates us
    this significantly. Though we rarely appreciate it at the time,
    wee almost always recognize and generally
    are grateful foor that irritation after changes too be ablle to made.

    We don't always express appreciation regarding pushing
    us to mke those changes.

    A face liuft can provide you with youthful appearance you arre
    looking by removing many in thhe lines and wrinkles from a
    facial tissues and muscle and strength. It can offer lasting results.
    Discuss your options with your surgeon ascertain if this
    is a great option for use in your specific should receive.
    When it is, it can make a profound difference in your views additionally
    your overall seem to be. Many people get a boost
    of confidence from that.

    Feel free to surf to my site: ace333 download

    June 14, 2021 at 22:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RV Repair Shop


    June 14, 2021 at 23:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Sprinter Repair Orange County


    June 15, 2021 at 01:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Sprinter Repair Near Me


    June 15, 2021 at 02:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Repair Shop Near My Location

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up and the rest of the site is extremely good.


    June 15, 2021 at 02:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Camper Repair Near Me

    I like reading through a post that will make men and women think. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!


    June 15, 2021 at 04:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. https://www.yamatocosmos.com

    Best view i have ever seen !


    June 15, 2021 at 05:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Repairs Near Me


    June 15, 2021 at 05:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. RV Repair Near My Location


    June 15, 2021 at 07:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now

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


    June 15, 2021 at 09:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. RV Repair

    bookmarked!!, I really like your website!


    June 15, 2021 at 13:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RV Repair Near Me Now

    You've made some really good points there. I looked on the internet for more information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.


    June 15, 2021 at 14:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RV Repair Shop Near My Location


    June 15, 2021 at 19:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Camper Repairs Near Me


    June 15, 2021 at 20:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. RV Repair Shops Near My Location


    June 15, 2021 at 21:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. RV Repair Places Near Me


    June 15, 2021 at 23:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me

    This is a topic which is close to my heart... Cheers! Where are your contact details though?


    June 16, 2021 at 01:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me

    Everyone loves it whenever people get together and share views. Great website, keep it up!


    June 16, 2021 at 02:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. pharmaceptica

    sildenafil price comparison https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 16, 2021 at 09:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Sprinter Repair Orange County

    Spot on with this write-up, I honestly think this amazing site needs a lot more attention. Iíll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the information!


    June 16, 2021 at 10:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. wells fargo atm near me


    June 16, 2021 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. ace333 apk download

    Research – good research is significant to buying a superb dress.
    Take your time, check through some magaznes tto geet a faair idea of styles,
    go through the internet to find out about any sale schemes
    and mark downs. Collect brochures and pamphlets from the
    shops that sell bridesaid gowns. Good knowledge can prevent you from making a big big mistake.

    Use the "positivity sandwich". When you will have a need
    automobile someone, express disappointment, or give feedback, use the "positivity sandwich".
    This is really a term coined by Dale Carnegie; author
    of the classic "How to win Friends and Influence People".
    This concept operates over a basic premise that you can tell anyone anything an individual are sandwich it between two positive boasts.

    By reading owners' comparisons of the different KitchenAid mixer models online,
    you can take shape a good opinion about which is actually better
    choice ffor you. You can be aware of people's physical localpes
    experiences when usikng tthe mixers nicely learn with regwrds
    to their shopping experiernces online.

    All you need to do is add elements your recipe calls for and then stand back aand let thee
    mixr ddo all the heavy career. With no more tired arms or soree
    muscles, baking for yourself or to oorder crowd is fun as well as easy to
    get perfect positive aspects.

    When these with Dad, they say what he wants to bee handled
    by. Mom is treated in order to different version of behavior so she won't be unhappy,
    mainly. The child can't help but conclude that his feelinngs must do not be important.
    These people were, he'd bee liberal to be open and honest wifh both mother and dad.
    Now, he knows he is meant to take sides. That is a lot tto ask when enjoy both contestants.

    When it comes to self confidence, it is something that will benefit you far more than means.
    Why? Because exterior lights self confident youa re, the take advantage of the will in order to talpk to you, as well as the easier it becomes to speak with them.
    See, this permi you whnen it comes to approaching women too.

    Want to write a distribution? Write an article about something you hav
    passion and publish itt – for free – on the web.
    Then goo Goggle yourself and visit your name and work came up for
    society to look at.

    Withou this marketing funnel in place, you most probably missing out - potentially even driving away - those who could really benefit from
    what you aree offering and assist with your bottom line, also.
    And that's how not using a marketing funnel hurts your practice without you even knowing they.

    Here is my website – ace333 apk download

    June 16, 2021 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. brunch near me


    June 16, 2021 at 14:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. huntington bank near me


    June 16, 2021 at 15:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. pet stores near me

    Good info. Lucky me I found your site by chance (stumbleupon). I've bookmarked it for later!


    June 16, 2021 at 16:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. lawn mower repair near me


    June 16, 2021 at 18:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. RV Repairs Nearby

    After I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I receive four emails with the exact same comment. There has to be a means you can remove me from that service? Thank you!


    June 16, 2021 at 22:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. rooms for rent near me


    June 16, 2021 at 22:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Nearby RV Repairs


    June 16, 2021 at 23:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. subaru dealership near me


    June 17, 2021 at 02:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. lawyers near me


    June 17, 2021 at 03:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. RV Repair Near Me Now


    June 17, 2021 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now

    Pretty! This was a really wonderful post. Thanks for supplying these details.


    June 17, 2021 at 11:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. dog parks near me

    You ought to be a part of a contest for one of the finest sites on the net. I'm going to recommend this web site!


    June 17, 2021 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. optometrist near me


    June 17, 2021 at 16:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. open restaurants near me


    June 17, 2021 at 17:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. ikea near me


    June 17, 2021 at 18:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. italian food near me


    June 17, 2021 at 23:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. https://www.songmanhits.com

    Best view i have ever seen !


    June 18, 2021 at 01:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. house for sale near me


    June 18, 2021 at 02:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. hospital near me


    June 18, 2021 at 03:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. tractor supply near me

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this article! It's the little changes that make the most significant changes. Many thanks for sharing!


    June 18, 2021 at 04:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. harris teeter near me

    I really love your website.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you make this site yourself? Please reply back as Iím hoping to create my own website and want to know where you got this from or just what the theme is called. Thanks!


    June 18, 2021 at 04:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. trucks for sale near me

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Many thanks, However I am encountering difficulties with your RSS. I donít understand the reason why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody having identical RSS issues? Anyone that knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    June 18, 2021 at 05:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. food trucks near me

    Saved as a favorite, I love your web site!


    June 18, 2021 at 07:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. popeyes near me


    June 18, 2021 at 08:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. covid-19 testing near me

    A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment. I think that you ought to write more about this subject matter, it may not be a taboo subject but typically people don't talk about such issues. To the next! Best wishes!!


    June 18, 2021 at 09:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. trader joe's near me

    After looking over a number of the blog articles on your web site, I truly like your technique of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back soon. Please visit my web site as well and let me know how you feel.


    June 18, 2021 at 09:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. basement contractors


    June 18, 2021 at 11:17 | 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.

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.