South African Family Practice

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Patients as friends -awkward or advantageous?

SAH Moosa


Rural General Practitioners often find themselves in a small community having patients as friends. This can lead to difficulty in the relationship. This is a reflection on family friends where I missed the youngest child's diagnosis of myoclonic epilepsy in the social context and which led to a crisis in the relationship. This led me to reflect on acknowledging my needs, defining the roles and relationships and being explicit and honest with the patient cum friend in the structuring of the dual relationship in various ways. I, as a doctor, have learnt to continuously reflect on objectivity and comfort in the care of the patient cum friend.

SA Fam Pract 2003;45(4):7-9

Keywords: Doctors and Friends; Doctors Social Needs

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