There are plenty of films with cozy doctor-patient relationships which end in happily-ever-afters. But in real life, such a relationship may not just be messy, but could be manipulative as it could involve power dynamics. As a response to this, the Indian Psychiatric Society and Bangalore Declaration Group have come up with a set of guidelines
The draft ‘Guidelines for Doctors on Sexual Boundaries’ address the possible power imbalance in a doctor-patient relationship which often blurs the definition between manipulation and consent. For instance, on sexual conduct, the guidelines say that even consensual sexual activity “in a power imbalanced relationship like that of a doctor and patient is not truly consensual”.
A taskforce of the IPS headed by Dr Ajit V Bhede, Head of the Ethics Committee in the IPS, and Dr Sunita Simon Kurpad, who has worked on sexual and non-sexual boundaries at the Bangalore Declaration Group, prepared the draft. The Bangalore Declaration Group says it got the Medical Council of India to incorporate the topic in the revised UG MBBS syllabi for 2013.
Here are the major takeaways from the draft: