If a patient writes a medical report about himself, and gives it to his medic to sign with his sole name, under what conditions is it lawful and professionally ethical for the medic to sign it?

  • 1
    Why the term "sole name"? Most people have more than one name.
    – phoog
    Aug 10, 2016 at 22:10
  • 2
    Perhaps OP means that the report is only signed by the medic/doctor. That is, there's no information that the patient wrote it.
    – mkennedy
    Aug 10, 2016 at 22:34
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    Sole name means his name only, not jointly with anyone else, and not saying it was written by anyone else.
    – user8723
    Aug 11, 2016 at 21:07
  • 3
    Is the report correct?
    – user662852
    Aug 15, 2016 at 1:01

1 Answer 1


When they agree with everything written there and don't want to add anything. Signing a report didn't mean you authored it: it means you authorize it.

  • 1
    In general, yes, but I was wondering whether this would contravene the professional rules of the American Medical Association. In particular, asserting something that they haven't observed, rather than saying that that is what the patient has informed them. Certainly some sets of professional rules do not allow that.
    – user8723
    Aug 11, 2016 at 21:10
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    @TheEarth the OP never suggested that the conditions haven't been observed, just that the medic didn't write the report. As an aside, many things cannot be observed and are generally reliant on patient reporting eg chronic pain, insomnia etc.
    – Dale M
    Aug 11, 2016 at 21:13
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    Sure, many symptoms come without signs. I doubt there's a problem if a medic signs a patient-written report that says only what the medic himself might say. I once hired a lawyer to send a letter and it was fine with him that I wrote it. But do professional ethics say that a medic's report must make clear when symptoms (or an absence of symptoms) are described that are unobserved by the medic and only reported by the patient? I was hoping someone would answer who had knowledge of medical ethics in the US and could refer to relevant documents. Professional rules are usually quite strict.
    – user8723
    Aug 12, 2016 at 23:01
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    This answer may be terse, but I think it is correct. It is ethical and legal to do, "when they agree with everything written there". (And, by the way, professional rules are actually usually extremely lenient as applied in real life, far more lenient in most cases than legal rules.) I recognize that sourcing would be better however. They are also often vague. web.stanford.edu/class/siw198q/websites/reprotech/…
    – ohwilleke
    Feb 8, 2017 at 7:40

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