The Impaired Physician
“It is a physician’s ethical responsibility to take cognizance of a colleague’s inability to practice medicine adequately by reason of physical or mental illness including alcoholism and drug dependence.” In 1972, this statement from the Report of the Council of Mental Health of the American Medical Association (AMA) emphasized that a national effort was necessary (1) to help impaired physicians return to optimal professional functioning and (2) to safeguard the health of patients from the care rendered by these impaired physicians. Subsequently, medical societies of all 50 states developed procedures to identify and bring into treatment those physicians who were alcohol and drug dependent.1 Thirty-five states have enacted laws to amend legislation concerned with the practice of medicine so that treatment alternatives are available for impaired physicians involved in disciplinary proceedings.
KeywordsDrug Dependence Impaired Physician Medical Society Alcoholic Anonymous Employee Assistance Program
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