Doctors warned to ignore patients' online flirting

AP News
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Posted: Dec 02, 2009 1:29 PM

A British medical organization that advises doctors on avoiding malpractice cases is warning them not to respond to messages from patients on social networking sites such as Facebook.

The Medical Defense Union says the rise in popularity of networking sites is blurring the boundaries between doctors and patients.

The organization says flirting on social networking sites poses ethical problems for doctors because they have a unique position of trust in society. The organization says many patients will share personal details with their doctor _ and that a doctor might say things on Facebook that they would never say in the consulting room.

The union is advising doctors to refrain from responding to patient's messages and to change their privacy settings.