Self-treatment and treatment of family members and others with whom significant emotional relationships exist

Potential Ethical Issues

Adopted: Wed, 2010-04-21

Back to Position Statements

Reviewed 2014-11-13 - no changes

It is the position of the North Carolina Board of Podiatry Examiners that, except for minor illnesses and emergencies, podiatrists should not treat, medically or surgically, or prescribe for themselves, their family members, or others with whom they have significant emotional relationships. The Board strongly believes that such treatment and prescribing practices are inappropriate and may result in less than optimal care being provided. A variety of factors, including personal feelings and attitudes that will inevitably affect judgment, will compromise the objectivity of the podiatrist and make the delivery of sound medical care problematic in such situations, while real patient autonomy and informed consent may be sacrificed.

When a minor illness or emergency requires self-treatment or treatment of a family member or other person with whom the podiatrist has a significant emotional relationship, the podiatrist must prepare and keep a proper written record of that treatment, including but not limited to prescriptions written and the medical indications for them. Record keeping is too frequently neglected when podiatrists manage such cases.

The Board expects podiatrists to delegate the medical and surgical care of themselves, their families, and those with whom they have significant emotional relationships to one or more of their colleagues in order to ensure appropriate and objective care is provided and to avoid misunderstandings related to their prescribing practices.