Features  |   February 2013
Self-Prescribing: The Legal and Ethical Costs of Convenience
Author Affiliations
  • Ronald S. Litman, D.O.
    ASA Committee on Professional Liability
Article Information
Ethics / Medicolegal Issues / Features
Features   |   February 2013
Self-Prescribing: The Legal and Ethical Costs of Convenience
ASA Monitor 02 2013, Vol.77, 10-11.
ASA Monitor 02 2013, Vol.77, 10-11.
“A physician who treats himself has a fool for a patient.”
– Sir William Osler (1849-1919)
We have all been in the awkward position of having to use our medical degree to treat a family member or ourselves when our own physician wasn’t available. For example, after getting off the plane en route to a family resort vacation, my 3-year-old son began screaming and holding his ear. What to do? After confirming otitis media using the otoscope of the resort nurse, I did what any other pediatrician/father would do: called in a prescription for amoxicillin. The pharmacist was more than happy to fill it and even deliver it to the resort. But did I do something illegal? Unprofessional? Immoral?
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