A study from the Harvard Medical School found that 17 percent of doctors knew of drunk, addicted or otherwise incompetent colleagues, but one-third said they did nothing to report fellow physicians‘ dangerous behavior, the Associated Press reported July 13.
The findings come from a 2009 survey of 1,891 doctors practicing in the U.S.
While the American Medical Association and many state laws require doctors to report their colleagues if they behave in a way that could endanger their patients, the study suggests many physicians don’t know where to turn, or believe they could suffer reprisals if they do take action.
Matthew Wynia, director of the AMA Institute for Ethics, doesn’t believe that matters. “I don’t think there’s any excuse for less than 100 percent of physicians holding true to these ideals,” he said.
Most states have retraining, intervention, and treatment programs for doctors, said the study’s author, Catherine DesRoches, but the survey indicates doctors don’t have faith in the system in place.
The research was published in the July 14, 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
From Join Together