The New Republic – Going Under: A Doctor’s Death

The New Republic on December 31st published an article called “Going Under: A Doctor’s Death”. For us in the Healthcare Industry- at whatever level we may find ourselves in; in whatever specific field, a looming threat to our sanity is Substance Abuse among providers. One, because it can be subtle for a very long time; two, when it starts showing signs many of us refuse to admit what we are seeing; three, we tend to go around the solution and leave it to the next person who will do the same until…oblivion and the provider loses everything- from license to life.


On the other side of the coin are the family members of the provider and the people who were treated by the afflicted provider…The family is devastated they couldn’t stop the downward spiral and try to grasp on anything to give them answers as to why it happened; while the patients- some who will find out (and those that won’t) are left with the agonizing question “what would have happened to me if that doctor had treated me while under the influence?”…”was that provider under the influence when such and such happened to me?”


Scary questions…Scarier still is why it happens with more frequency than most care to admit? I sat at a conference during our Medical Board that addressed Impaired Physicians and how it should be handled; by whom and when…At the end of the conference the jury was still out as to whom should take care of the impaired physician; and not a one agreed on method…




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