The blurring of professional boundaries between physicians and patients is not simply an ethical issue. It's a threat to a physician's reputation, license, and livelihood...not to mention the liability risk.
Some boundary violations are obvious, such as pursuing an intimate relationship with a patient or with a member of the patient's family. Others are not so clear. Knowing where to draw the line can be difficult, a balancing act between maintaining professional distance and building a warm, caring doctor-patient relationship.