Many individuals consult selected doctors on a regular basis. Inevitably, a relationship eventually evolves, albeit a strictly professional one. The doctor and yourself must guard the limits of such a relationship to strict professional boundaries. If certain lines ever get crossed, the relationship becomes something else, and can no longer be defined as a doctor-patient relationship.
Medical practice is bound by strict ethics, which doctors must uphold at all times. Patients too are bound by unwritten social norms and behaviour. It is thus a two-way process that inherently protects the relationship with your doctor from veering off the professional path. But inappropriate social relationships between doctors and their patients are not unheard of. The extreme is when such relationships become sexual.
But how could you get too close to your doctor in the wrong way? It all starts with the trust you bestow on your doctor. You trust them with pretty intimate and confidential health matters about yourself. The doctors trust you with being truthful to them, it’s the only way they can objectively help you with health matters. You even go to the extent of allowing doctors to touch and prod you in all conceivable places, all based on professional trust.
That level of a two-way trust can sometimes get misjudged to mean something else, leading both of you onto an inappropriate relationship. If the relationship between you and your doctor is no longer professional, either one or both of you must bear the blame. Doctors can abuse their privileged positions and make an inappropriate pass on you. It is your duty to resist any such attempts and remind them of their professional obligations. You should immediately distance yourself from them.
You too can initiate an inappropriate relationship in all manner of ways. Your doctor should sense this and stop it. In the end, it doesn’t really matter who starts what, the bottom line is that it should never happen. As soon as the relationship with your doctor becomes sensual, both of you have ended up onto a disastrous pathway. You will no longer be seeing your doctor just because you are unwell, but because you are craving for something entirely different. The doctor can no longer objectively evaluate any of your symptoms, leaving your health worse off. It isn’t any better for the doctor either. They open themselves up to sanctions by the medical board, and may end up with a revoked medical license.
You must avoid getting too close to your doctor. Your doctor should do the same too. Your interactions must remain strictly professional. If amorous temptations take the better of you, remember that you are just seeking healthcare, not love. The same goes for the doctor, they are just doing a healthcare job, period. Sexual relationships between doctors and patients never end well.
Dr Alfred Murage is a Consultant Gynecologist and Fertility Specialist.
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