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Year : 2008  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 41-44

Treatment of relatives by doctors : experience from Calabar, Nigeria

Department of Paediatrics, University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
M U Anah
Department of Paediatrics, University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 18689138

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OBJECTIVE: To determine the involvement of medical practitioners working in a tropical setting in the treatment of their relatives. DESIGN: Cross-sectional. SUBJECTS: Medical practitioners of all cadres working in the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar, Nigeria. SETTING: A large teaching hospital in Calabar, Nigeria. A referral centre for two states. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Extent, type and effect of involvement in the practice. RESULTS: Majority (90.9%) of medical practitioners in our centre were found to have been involved in the treatment of their relatives. Services rendered included consultation, in which all respondents (100%) have partaken. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (16.9%) and emergency surgery were performed by only a few (3.1%). Though fees were not charged for services provided by most; a few (13.1%) did so. Outcome of involvement was unfavourable in some instances: 9.4% lost relatives they were involved in treating. Majority of the respondents 51.7% believed it is unethical to treat relatives and advocated for only limited involvement. This is because the pressure from relatives for care cannot be entirely ignored. CONCLUSION: It is difficult in our environment not to accede to request to treat family members. We recommend that practitioners may offer only consultation, and in some cases treat minor ailments while referring more serious ones to appropriate colleagues.

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