Conflict of interest?

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"I can't work on it!" Patrick said. He didn't like raising his voice to anyone, but that time he couldn't help it. His head was brewing with anger and confusion. His whole body had molecules of those emotions running around.

"I don't get it," the man sitting across him merely said.

"My judgment is compromised," Patrick said.

"I don't see the relation," the man said stroking his graying beard.

Patrick shouldn't have taken Charlie as his patient in the first place. It wasn't the first time he realized his judgment was compromised. He'd taken the case anyway, hoping he could do something to help Charlie. As his doctor, he'd get to see more of Charlie than otherwise. His heart had put his own selfish needs first.

"He is...he was my childhood best friend."

The administrator merely raised a brow.

"Things didn't end well. We...it's just best if I don't treat him," Patrick said.

"You have issues being professional?" the man said. His tone was accusatory.

"If he was my dad you wouldn't let me treat him! What's the difference?"

"He's not your dad. If we turned people away because we had grudges against them we'd have no patients. The nearest neurologist is kilometres away. Suck it up and treat him."

"You don't get it!"

"Help me get it. Are you planning on killing him? Besides, managing Huntington's is multidisciplinary. You won't make the decisions alone."

Patrick put his hands near his face and then balled them up in a fist. "He doesn't want to see me. A referral is in his interest. It's been a week since I told him his results are back. We need to discuss a way forward but he's not going to come. Hell, he throws my recommendations in my face. He has yet to take a psych evaluation. Trust me when I say this is more than mere patient noncompliance."

The old man put his elbows on the desk and tangled his fingers together.

"I see. I will grant the referral only if he consents to it."

*

And so that's how Patrick found himself at the Roberts house. One more week had gone by since his meeting with the big boss. He felt like a little child complaining about a patient, but it had to be done. Charlie repeatedly made it clear he despised him. Not only that, for two weeks he ignored the hospital's phone-calls.

As he parked his car on the side of the road, Patrick wondered again what he was doing there. Charlie hated him and he sure as hell was going to be pissed off when he opened the door and found him there.

But Patrick had a conscience. He'd taken an oath. He had to help Charlie anyway he could, even if that meant transferring care. Also, Patrick himself couldn't treat Charlie anymore. After their moment in the bathroom, he'd realized he wasn't over him. It went beyond caring for him as an old friend. His heart had ached so hard when he'd yelled, "You fucking broke my heart and didn't even have the guts to tell me face to face and you have the nerve to call me fake?!"

Charlie had left him and like the idiot that he was, he had hoped they'd be friends if anything when he bumped into him in the hospital corridor. For several years after he left he despised Charlie. He cursed his name and wished for him to roast in the pits of hell. Overtime the anger turned into longing.

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