Thursday, July 15, 2010
Here is a PR challenge for the healthcare industry -- the reluctance of doctors to report on their peers who are incapacitated or incompetent. Essentially, doctors are saying that "it's not my job" to let authorities know when one of their colleagues shouldn't be practicing medicine. Yet, doctors are in the best position to know when another is no longer capable of treating patients. In spite of the American Medical Association's statement that it is the ethical duty of doctors to report on others' abilities, more than a third said they wouldn't do it. What this means is that in practice, physicians are not self-regulating,and regulation will have to be imposed on them. Already doctors are unhappy about their loss of status and power. One would think that they would work to avoid further diminution. But, that doesn't appear to be the case. They are in the position of a patient who pleas for "someone to help me before I harm myself." There is a merit to protecting one's own but not when it comes to harming others. Physicians have apparently not learned that lesson.