Doctors may be thrust into the difficult situation of treating friends and colleagues. A doctor's response to this situation is strongly influenced by his or her emotions and by medical tradition. Such patients may be treated as 'special cases' but the 'special' treatment can backfire and lead to an adverse outcome. Why does this happen and can doctors avoid it happening? These issues are discussed in this commentary on Dr. Crisci's paper, 'The ultimate curse.'
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