Some of my: Inventions | Magazine interviews | Sheds | Favorite ER memories

Information for people contemplating
a career in emergency medicine and
other medical specialties

By Kevin Pezzi, MD


Patient attracted to a doc who kissed her

European beauty
A European beauty, but not Anna, who wanted to keep her photos private

Q: Hello Doctor :-),

My name is Anna and I am writing to you from Europe because I really need your opinion. I am sure you've heard plenty of stories about patients being attracted to their doctors. Here's mine.

I had plastic surgery in another country at the end of 2010. I felt attracted to my doctor from the very first time I saw him. A few days after the surgery, I went to see him for a consultation. At the end of the consultation, right before we said goodbye to each other, I got a bit closer to him. At that point he kissed me on my face and hugged me!!! I was very very very surprised he did that! Pleasantly surprised, of course! Because a patient was waiting to see him, I had to say goodbye and couldn't discuss what I wanted to. But I told him that I will call him later that day. And I did. Over the phone I was very direct. Here is our conversation:

ME: I would like to see you again before I leave town.

DOCTOR: Why? Is something wrong?

ME: Fortunately not. I must confess that I like you and I think you are very attractive. Please don't be upset that I am so direct!

DOCTOR (he was silent for at least five seconds and then said): I am not upset at all. Thank you very much, Anna. You are really sweet. But we have a doctor-patient relationship and must remain this way. I am sorry.

ME: Okay, but I think I don't want to be a patient anymore.

DOCTOR (laughed and then replied): Mmm, I don't know what to say. I've never had a similar situation. I think it is best if we don't get involved.

ME: Is it because you don't like me? I was under the impression that you liked me, too.

DOCTOR: It's not that I don't like you. I've told you what it is . . . . But Anna, why don't you call me the next time you are here and we'll see each other then.

At that point I felt like I didn't have to insist anymore so I agreed to meet him the next time I returned to that city. We met again months later.

ME: Please tell me if you thought about what we discussed the last time.

DOCTOR: I thought about it over and over again. But we cannot have a relationship. It wouldn't be right.

ME: But I am not asking for a relationship. First of all because it would be UNREAL. We live in two different countries so of course we cannot have a relationship. I only want to spend time together when I come here. Besides, I was under the impression that you like me. Please tell me the truth—was I wrong?

DOCTOR: No, you were not wrong.

ME: Great. :-) Then tell me, can we meet when I visit here again?

DOCTOR: Perhaps if you were not my patient. And if you went to see another doctor.

I didn't know what to say at that point and didn't know what to do. Because that is all he said and the only thing that came in my mind at that time was to ask whether I could hug him and kiss him.

DOCTOR: I don't know. Can you?

So I did. I hugged him and kissed him. He didn't seem bothered by that in any way and he didn't reject me. After this, I asked him to think about what we discussed because I would really love to spend time with him.

DOCTOR: I am sorry, but I don't see how it would be possible, considering that you were and still are a patient of mine. But anyway, are you coming here anytime soon?

ME: Yes, definitely. But I don't want to be a patient anymore. I will always want to see you, but not as a patient. What do you say?

DOCTOR: Well that's fine. Let me know when you are here the next time.

And that was it. I swear that I don't understand a thing. I don't know what I should do next. I am confused. It was clear that he liked me; I have no doubt about it. What I don't understand is why did he behave that way?! And what did he mean by telling me if I went to “see another doctor”? What was I supposed to say? Was that an excuse or what was it? I get the feeling that he was concerned about something. Concerned that I might get him into some kind of trouble. BUT I DON'T WANT THAT. I could never hurt someone I like!

I don't know if you understood what I wanted, because he obviously didn't. So the big question is, how do I convince him that I don't want to get him in trouble but I want us to spend time together? What would you do if you were in my position? Any idea?

I am confused because I want to see him again but I don't know what else to say to him. Do you believe that he actually didn't like me and was only making up excuses? Or was he doing so because he might have been concerned about something? Hope to hear from you when you find the time to deal with this. :-) Thank you very much. Look forward to hearing from you soon.

All the best,

Answer by , MD: He obviously is attracted to you. After seeing your pictures, I can understand why: you look like a supermodel with a certain something extra and lips that scream, “Kiss me.” He evidently listened with his heart, but his brain is cautioning him, “Whoa! Hold on! I'm a doc, she's a patient, I kissed her first . . . .”

Could that be trouble for the doc? Professionally, perhaps, depending on the regulations in his country. Personally, perhaps, if he is married or already has a girlfriend, which is likely—not too many handsome plastic surgeons spend Saturday night alone, if you know what I mean.

He wants you, Anna. I suspect that most unattached men, and more than a few married ones, would jump at the chance to hug you, kiss you, and, well, you know the rest.

However, as you wisely noted, the fact that you and he live in different countries makes dating impractical. What about the friendship you proposed—just spending time with him when you're in his city?

I doubt if that would work out. On one hand, men and women can have purely platonic friendships. Most of the friends I've had are women that I wasn't romantically involved with; we were just like buddies, or a close brother-sister relationship. We'd do all sorts of things together: go shopping, traveling, dining out (or in), and talking . . . and talking, sometimes 16 hours straight for days in a row (I've been told that I'm quite talkative for a man). They'd sometimes spend a few days at my home, or I'd stay with them, but always in separate bedrooms. Thus, I think that men and women can be friends without being romantically involved, but most people that I've discussed this matter with think that it is very difficult for a man and woman to be friends, especially when one or both find the other intensely attractive.

Like you.

I've had stunningly beautiful female friends who were just friends, and the barrier in my mind between that friendship and going beyond it was so great that when some of them made moves on me, it took me years to figure it out. Actually, without the help of other friends who interpreted those situations, I likely wouldn't have ever figured it out.

Considering the foregoing, you might want to discount my opinion that platonic friendships are feasible and perfectly fine, and instead listen more to others who say that almost inevitable romantic or sexual tensions make platonic relationships difficult. The fact that he is (or was) your doctor, and is likely already involved with someone else—well, now you're talking very difficult.

That difficulty is compounded by the fact that he likely wants more than a friendship with you, and I suspect that you want (or would welcome) the same with him. He's handsome, he's a plastic surgeon, he likes you (so much that he kissed you, which I doubt he does with every female patient), he agreed to see you again . . . and all you want is just a friendship?

Does. Not. Compute.

Of course you want a relationship! Probably not with him, because that isn't practical as you said, but you do want a relationship with some man. The more time you spend with him, or thinking of him, the less open you'll be when Mr. (or Dr.) Right appears in your life.

In retrospect, with that amazing 20/20 vision that gives people perfect hindsight, I've blown some amazing chances. I devoted too much time into friendships and not enough time into dating.

If men commonly did what I've done with women, they'd have an easier time seeing women as fully dimensional people and be less likely to see them as sexual objects—but then, who am I to criticize men? Most men my age are married and have children, and all I have are a bunch of chickens running around my yard! :-) Considering that, getting dating advice from me is like getting financial advice from homeless people!

See the update below this picture
12 of my hot chicks :-)

UPDATE: After reading this, Anna told me that I didn't understand what she wants: not just strolling around town, watching movies, discussing current events, and whatnot; she wants a sexual affair.

Now that I've proven beyond a reasonable doubt that I am not qualified to dispense romantic advice, this is the last such one I'll post. I've said about everything I can say on the ethics of doctor-patient dating and case law permitting it once the doctor-patient relationship is over; I don't have any time (or aptitude, obviously) for discussing individual romantic situations.

PS to the zillionaire who wrote to me: If you still want my worthless romantic advice about pursuing your doctor's heart, buy me a good-quality 3-D printer, and I'll be happy to show you how little I know about dating. Deal?

If anyone else wants more worthless advice, I have expertise in the following areas:

  • Falling off roofs
  • Breaking my neck
  • Shrinking expensive sweaters to doll size
  • Politically alienating people who politically agree with me
  • Thinking that certain non-PC words are OK & even funny (note to self: times change; keep up with 'em)
  • Putting crown molding and chair rail on upside down
  • Hiring incompetent builders
  • Selecting the wrong windows
  • Dropping a barbell on my face
  • Repelling women by baking for them (that's too feminine, I suppose; women who are as clueless about dating as I am [if such women exist] might do something comparable by offering to change a man's spark plugs or oil, I suppose)
  • Thinking that ordinary dishwashing soap can go in a dishwasher
  • Thinking that strawberry crisp might be tasty
  • Thinking that lettuce might be a good vegetable to put on pizza (hey, it was cheap! :-)

Oh, one more thing . . . I'm no rocket scientist about dating, but as an ER doctor, I've seen enough tragedies stemming from sexual affairs to know how some of them turn very ugly, with shattered lives and even skulls (here's one gruesome example). The one good bit of advice I can offer is to pick a partner and stay with that partner, not making the mistake of assuming the grass will be greener on the other side of the hill, and not assuming the next partner will be more perfect than the last. Some of my biggest mistakes in life were in rejecting women I deemed insufficiently perfect—as if I or anyone else is even close to that!

A mesmerizingly gorgeous and hot woman with a stratospheric IQ fell in love with me. Just one problem: she was married and didn't want to get divorced, but she did want me to move to her area so we could, ahem, discuss physics and chemistry, or something like that. I hated the climate in her area, but I would have lived anywhere to be with her, if she weren't married. But she was. She said her husband threatened to kill her if she left him. If he became that enraged, I knew from my ER years, he'd likely consider killing me, too; the penalty for first-degree murder of two people isn't usually worse than killing one; a life sentence is a life sentence, or a lethal injection is a lethal injection. Same voltage on the electric chair, too.

I know, I know, I know . . . people assume it won't happen to them. It's always the other guy (or gal) who is shot, stabbed, run over, or poisoned for cheating.

I've seen many lives ruined by cheating. The adults involved not infrequently go to prison if not their graves, and the kids (if any) go to relatives or foster care. Some affairs end in stable, happy marriages, but there is often a wake of destruction surrounding that island of bliss.

I do my best to think of what's best for others, not just myself, so saying no to an affair is easy, even when the temptation is almost irresistible.

Back to the main Question & Answer page