Physicians Should Avoid Treating Their Own Family!

When a physician is charged with unprofessional conduct by the Board of Physicians (BOP) and put on probation, everyone suffers, including the employer. From hard costs like hiring a lawyer, to soft costs like potential low morale and bad PR, the hospital feels the sting when a physician receives sanctions.

Fortunately, mistakes can be avoided by knowing where your physicians may be at risk. Here, we highlight why physicians should avoid treating family members.

In one case, a family member asked for a prescription for a sinus infection and the physician provided a prescription for an antibiotic. On a chart review for another matter, the BOP saw the prescription and charged the physician with “unprofessional conduct in the practice of medicine” and put him on probation! More and more physicians are facing this scenario when they prescribe medications for their immediate family members.

Bottom Line: It is important to remind physicians that, before they think about treating immediate family members, they consider the unintended consequences for them, their loved ones and their employer. The suggested response to a family member who requests treatment is to refer them to another physician. It’s just not worth the risk!

If you have questions about this, or any other potential BOP matter, contact us. We are here to help.

And for more information on responding to BOP inquiries, we have summarized “common mistakes” that healthcare professionals make following receipt of a complaint or inquiry by a Maryland Medical Licensing Board. For more information, please see our article that appeared in Maryland Physician Magazine.

Neal Brown

Neal Brown

Neal Brown is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a Martindale-Hubbell AV-rated trial attorney. He is a founding partner of Waranch & Brown, where he has devoted his career to defending hospitals and health care providers in medical malpractice and related cases.
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email