AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Journal of Ethics Header

AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. January 2005, Volume 7, Number 1.

Module 6

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Case 6.4: Treatment of Family Members and Significant Others—All in the Family

Case Presentation

Dr. Green is completing her internship year at a major teaching hospital. Her brother, Michael, who lives 100 miles away in a rural setting in the same state, has been seeing a psychiatrist for anxiety disorder and depression and has been taking medication for his illness. Without the medication, he suffers from severe panic attacks that force him to avoid most social situations, and he experiences episodic bouts of severe depression. Michael is almost at the end of his medication and has just learned that his psychiatrist is unreachable in the Canadian wilderness on vacation for the next two weeks. He telephones his sister and asks her to call in a prescription refill.

What should Dr. Green do about Michael's prescription? (select an option)

A.   Tell Michael she can take over writing the prescription for him now that he knows what he should be taking.
B.   Tell Michael she will write the prescription this time only because it is an emergency.
C.   Ask a staff psychiatrist at the hospital to write the prescription.
D.   Tell Michael to find another way to get the prescription filled.
The people and events in this case are fictional. Resemblance to real events or to names of people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. The viewpoints expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.