Case and Commentary
Jan 2005

Mr. Harvey's Central Line, Option Comparison

Jennifer Reenan, MD
Virtual Mentor. 2005;7(1):61-67. doi: 10.1001/virtualmentor.2005.7.1.ccas11b-0501.


Medical students (and their supervising residents) have a responsibility to inform patients of their training status. Because Mr. Harvey may not have understood that Tina is a medical student, reminding him (option A) is preferable. Because Tina has already informed Mr. Harvey that she is a medical student, option B, informing him that she will do the procedure but not reminding him that she is a student, is acceptable. Option D is also acceptable: Tina does not violate the Code by informing Mr. Harvey of her past failures.

Option C—the vague statement that "the team" will perform the procedure—should be avoided. Because this statement may imply that someone else will be performing the procedure, and because she knows she will be, Ms Moseley should inform Mr. Harvey.

Preferable: Option A

Acceptable: Options B and D

Avoid: Option C

Additional discussion and information


Virtual Mentor. 2005;7(1):61-67.



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 in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.