ROGER M. CASS, M.D.
To the editor: The article by Quill (1) raises interesting ethical, moral, and legal issues for the practicing internist. It is true that the physician and patient enter into a verbal contract when they agree to establish a relationship, but not mentioned in the article is the role the patient's family may play. The family may not be initially involved, but if the patient becomes seriously ill, or is hospitalized, the family often becomes a full partner in the contract. If the patient becomes incompetent, comatose, or terminally ill, the contract is basically between the physician and the family.
CASS RM. The Patient-Physician Contract. Ann Intern Med. ;98:668–669. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-98-5-668_2
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1983;98(5_Part_1):668-669.
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