Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations Ethics Man

How to be a cool headed clinician

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 08 June 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3980

Re: How to be a cool headed clinician

Dr Dalton,

Thanks for your query.

Clinicians are generally advised against providing medical care to either themselves or loved ones, such as family members. The current GMC guidance is as follows: ‘Wherever possible, you should avoid providing medical care to anyone with whom you have a close personal relationship.’ The rationale, in part, is that the emotional proximity can distort a clinician’s professional judgment. This is what I meant by the degree of dispassion needed to maintain the ‘medical gaze’.

I hope that clarifies matters.

Competing interests: I am the author of the article

15 August 2012
Daniel Sokol
Medical ethicist
Imperial College London