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Thursday, September 22, 2011

FREE Medical Advice is not FREE!

Not infrequently I am asked by the general public for "medical advice". If it is someone I know fairly well I will decline their request and tell them that I am a money grubbing rich doctor and I did not get that way by giving free advice.

For others I will politely decline and refer them to their family doctor. What people do not seem to understand is that I do not have the luxury of giving free off the cuff advice. As a licensed professional if I give advice, I from that moment, have established a doctor/patient relationship with that person. This make me liable for any advice I might give. If I give someone some advice and they drop dead tomorrow, then I am responsible, whether my advice had anything to do with their dropping dead or not. Unfortunately there are plenty of hot shot lawyers out there that would try to make a case against me and the lawyer would accuse me of giving off the cuff advice and not taking a complete history and physical.

The lay person, on the other hand, has no such restriction. I sometime almost laugh out loud at absurd medical advice given by one lay person to another and I have always thought if would really be fun if ordinary people could be held legally responsible for their advice. People would learn quickly how to keep their mouths shut..

Recently I have had requests on Facebook for medical advice. I have to wonder why anyone would use Facebook to discuss their medical problems, but there are those who have this apparently insatiable desire to share every aspect of their life with the internet.

What really kills me are people who will get a prescription from their doctor and then start asking me about side effects and what to expect. I have to ask, "Why are you not discussing this with YOUR DOCTOR?"

So if I decline your medical questions, just realize that I spend 5 figures per year in insurance to protect me from the liability of your questions and the company's defense attorneys have told me not to talk to you.

Any questions?

1 comment:

  1. You said it. The best way is to politely decline and refer people to their family doctor.