Terminating the Doctor/Patient Relationship

  • Peter R. Lichstein
Part of the Frontiers of Primary Care book series (PRIMARY)


The relationship between doctor and patient provides the medium for patient-centered medical care. Once established, a positive relationship promotes diagnostic accuracy, effective patient management, and greater patient and physician satisfaction. Continuity of the relationship over time is a cornerstone of primary care (Fletcher and O’Malley, 1983). Under many circumstances, however, patients or their physicians come and go; the relationship between them is not permanent, and sometimes it must be terminated. What are the consequences of disruptions in the continuity of care? How do doctors and their patients react when the bond between them must be broken, and how can these reactions be recognized, understood, and effectively managed?


Separation Anxiety Heighten Anxiety Emotional Withdrawal Resident Clinic Routine Office Visit 
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Copyright information

© Mack Lipkin Jr. M.D. 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter R. Lichstein

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