When It’s Not Your Patient

Physicians accept exacting responsibility for their patients’ health—they profess to be clinically competent and compassionate, to respect the patient’s autonomy and protect confidentiality; in general, to put the patient’s interests above their own. These professed duties make it critical to distinguish who is a patient from who is not. This month’s authors examine the circumstances under which a physician enters into a patient-physician relationship with someone and how the practice of medicine in the twenty-first century has changed that relationship.

Volume 14, Number 5: 363-436 Full Issue PDF