50. CASE: Overlapping Relationships

During a routine physical examination at your rural practice, one of your teenage patients shares that he has seen another teenage patient using cocaine at your neighbour’s house.

  • What are your ethical responsibilities as a physician?
  • What are your ethical responsibilities to your neighbour? The law?
  • Do these roles conflict?
  • How would you proceed in this situation and why?
  • How are the ethics issues in this case affected by the rural context?


Some Values and Ethics Issues to Consider

  • Community and family relationships
  • Compliance with policies and procedures
  • Respect for privacy and confidentiality
  • Overlapping roles and responsibilities
  • Patient-provider relationships
  • Professional boundaries
  • Honesty, trust and truth-telling
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