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Code of Medical Ethics: Patient-Physician Relationships

The trust established in the patient-physician relationship allows for better communication and ultimately, improved health care decisions.
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Building relationships of trust with patients is fundamental to ethical practice in medicine.

Responsibilities of Physicians & Patients

The relationship between a patient and a physician is based on trust, which gives rise to physicians’ ethical responsibility to place patients’ welfare above the physician’s own self-interest.

Special Issues in Patient-Physician Relationships

In general, physicians should not treat themselves or members of their own families. Physicians who are employed by businesses or insurance companies, or who provide their medical expertise in sports should protect the health and safety of participants.

AMA Code of Medical Ethics

Visit the Code of Medical Ethics page to access additional Opinions, the Principles of Medical Ethics and a list of CME courses that are available.

These Opinions are offered as ethics guidance for physicians and are not intended to establish standards of clinical practice or rules of law.

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