Indiana Policyholders: Notice to policyholders recently affected by severe weather. 

Treating Family, Friends or Employees May Jeopardize Your Practice

Dentists must carefully consider the particular circumstances presented before deciding to treat a close friend, family member, or employee.

If the patient is injured as a result of your treatment, neglected documentation or failure to follow up on test results can lead to a lawsuit, even with those who are closest to you.

How can treating family, friend or employees be a risky practice situation?  After all, isn’t having a family member, friend or working for as a healthcare professional one of those perks we have all come to expect? 

Keep in mind that the standard of care prevails, regardless of the relationship with the patient.  Certain protocols must be followed.   When family, friends or employees are involved; those protocols tend to slip by the wayside.

Before treating your family, friends or employees, take into consideration the following risks:

  • Personal feelings/relationships may unduly influence the plan of care, compromising professional objectivity and clinic judgment.
  • Thorough healthy history and complete exam may be compromised.
    • The history and exam must be consistent for all patients, regardless of the relationship
    • The family, friend or employee may be reluctant to share information which might affect the treatment plan
  • Neglected informed consent and patient autonomy
  • Patient reluctance due to the relationship, which can lead to questioning the doctor’s recommendations.
  • No reimbursements from some third party insurers for providing treatment to family members
  • Lack of proper documentation of the clinical encounter
  • Past clinical records, medication lists, and other vital information may not be available or reviewed prior to treatment
  • An attempt to render care outside of the specialty/expertise and training may be undertaken in the effort to help out
  • Claims may be pursued which could affect your professional standing for the rest of your career
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