MedSmarter Question Break Down of the Week - Ethics - 06/16/2021

QBDOTW: A 30-year-old Male Physician with a Female Patient

Welcome to MedSmarter’s USMLE Style Question Break Down of the Week.  For those preparing for the USMLE Step 1, this week we break down a high-yield Ethics question.  As always you want to begin with reading the last sentence of the vignette first to get an understanding of what the question is asking for.

Question Break Down of the Week:

A 30-year-old male physician is seeing a new patient, who is a 27-year-old woman. When he enters the room, he recognizes her as someone he met at a bar 2 weeks ago. He was highly attracted to her at that time, but she left before he could invite her on a date. What is the physician’s best course of action during this visit?

A)  Ask her on a date
B)  Continue the visit as normal
C)  Refer her to another doctor
D)  Refer her to another doctor, then ask her on a date
E)  Return to the room with a chaperon and conduct the visit as normal

The correct answer choice is B: Personal (especially sexual) relationships with patients are inappropriate and should not be actively sought by either party of an existing physician-patient relationship. The doctor’s best course of action here is to continue the interview and examination while making no mention of his feelings for the woman, who is now his patient. If the physician had a prior or previously existing relationship with the patient, he could refuse to see her on that basis because the personal relationship preceded any would-be physician-patient relationship.

Did you think the answer was different?

Did you think that the correct answer choice was other than B?  You can view this video for a deeper discussion of why A, C, D, and E were not the correct answer choices.

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