Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Personal View

From doctor to carer: mission impossible?

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b2614 (Published 29 June 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2614

Physician Impossible

A physician with a sick family member is faced with the difficult, if not
impossible, task of relinquishing the role of physician and accepting the role of
co-patient. This role reversal is an awkward dilemma for all parties and should
be discussed openly with flexibility and compromise. One possibility is an
ad hoc clinical alliance between the treating and non-treating
physicians which bridges the divide between physician and patient, so that
irrespective of the outcome, all concerned will feel they did their best, and will
not be haunted with doubts, regrets, or guilt.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

04 July 2009
Hugh Mann
Physician
Eagle Rock, MO 65641 USA