What do you do when a physician colleague, a 45-year-old surgeon and, until now, an outstanding, skilled, and professional member of the staff, has received several patient complaints over the past six months, has had a troubling uptick in complications, and recently has been verbally abusive to the nursing staff?
Explore this issue:April 2019
This scenario was part of a session at the Triological Combined Sections Meeting featuring a panel of leaders in otolaryngology and a lively discussion with audience members on the slippage in professionalism occurring in the medical field, and how to confront the problem. Panelists and others emphasized the need for vigilance and speedy and sensitive intervention to keep problems from spiraling, and decisive action when the need arises.
In the case of the 45-year-old surgeon with recent problems, Jonas Johnson, MD, chair of otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh, suggested thinking of the surgeon as having a disability. “We have disabled surgeons in our environment. You might think of disability as something that happens when you’re older or at the end of your career, but surgeons become disabled for a variety of reasons mid-career,” he said. “This to me looks like somebody who’s become disabled.” He could be struggling with addiction, or even an early stage of dementia, he added.| | | Next → | Single Page