Notes on Doctor Misconduct


Abuse of professional privileges

Un-ethical research on patients is abuse of professional privileges. Abuse of treatment privileges consists of unnecessary treatment, iatrogenic infection, and allowing or abetting an unlicensed practitioner. Abuse of prescription privileges is manufacturing, possessing, and supplying a controlled drug without a license, prescription of controlled drugs not following procedures, diverting or giving away controlled substances, dispensing harmful drugs, sale of poisons, and writing prescriptions using secret formulas.


Financial fraud may be pharmacy fraud (billing for medicine not supplied), billing fraud (billing for services not performed), equipment fraud (using equipment that is really not needed or using equipment of poorer quality), or supplies fraud. It is also illegal to get financial advantage from prescriptions to be filled by pharmacies owned by the physician. Kick-backs are unethical and illegal. False or inaccurate documentation is a breach of the law and includes issuing a false medical certificate of illness, false death certification, and false injury reports.


 Court action could be brought against a physician for the following crimes against the person: manslaughter (voluntary & involuntary); euthanasia (active and passive): battery for forced feeding or treatment; criminal liability for patient death; induced non-therapeutic abortion; iatrogenic death; abusive therapy involving torture; intimate therapy; rape and child molestation; and sexual advances to patients or sexual involvement. The physician-patient relation requires that the physician keeps all information about the patient confidential. Breach of confidentiality can be done only in the following situations: court order, statutory duty to report notifiable diseases, statutory duty to report drug use, abortions, births, deaths, accidents at work, disclosure to relatives in the interest of the patient, disclosure in the public interest, sharing information with other health professionals, disclosure for the purposes of teaching and research,  and disclosure for the purposes of health management.


Private mis-conduct derogatory to reputation, kharq al muru’at

Breach of trust is a cause for censure because a physician must be a respected and trusted member of the community. Sexual misbehavior such as zina and liwaat are condemned. Fraudulent procurement of a medical license, sale of medical licenses, and covering an unqualified practitioner indicate bad character. Physicians can abuse their position by abuse of trust (eg harmful or inappropriate personal and sexual relations with patients and their families), abuse of confidence (eg disclosure of secrets), abuse of power/influence (eg undue influence on patients for personal gain), and conflict of interest (when the physician puts personal selfish interests before the interests of the patient). Other forms of misconduct are in-humane behavior such as participation in torture or cruel punishment, abuse of alcohol and drugs, behavior unbecoming, indecent behavior, violence, and conviction for a felony.


Public professional mis-conduct

Physicians in private practice must adopt good business practices. Halal transactions are praised[i]. An honest businessman is held in high regard[ii]. Leniency in transactions is encouraged[iii]. Full disclosure is needed in any transaction[iv]. Measures and scales must be fulfilled[v]. Bad business practices are condemned. There is no blessing in immoral earnings[vi]. Selling over another’s sale is prohibited[vii]. Cheating is condemned[viii]. Also condemned are financial fraud including criminal breach of trust, riba on bills, fee splitting, and bribery[ix]. Sale of goodwill of a practice is allowed. Also allowed is agreement among partners that they will not set up a rival practice on leaving the partnership. Entering into a compact with pharmacists or laboratories involving fee splitting and unnecessary referrals is not moral. Treatment regimens can not be patented as an intellectual property. Physicians are entitled to a reasonable fee[x]. Medical fees cannot be fixed by government because the Prophet refused to fix prices[xi].



[i] Zaid Hadith 539

[ii] Tirmidhi Kitaab al Buyu’u  Baab 4

[iii] Bukhari Kitaab al Buyu’u  Baab 16

[iv] Ibn Majah Kitaab al Tijaarat Baab 45

[v] Muwatta Kitaab al Buyu’u Hadith 99

[vi] Darimi Kitaab al Riqaaq Baab 60

[vii] Bukhari Kitaab al Buyu’u Baab 58

[viii] Bukhari Kitaab al Buyu’u  Baab 19

[ix] Abudaud Kitaab al Aqdhiyat  Baab 4

[x] Bukhari Kkitaab al ijarah Baab 16

[xi] Abudaud Kitaab al Buyu’u  Baab 49

ŠProfessor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. June, 2008