One in three doctors who personally knew of an incompetent or impaired physician colleague failed to report the doctor to a hospital, clinic, professional society or other authority, according to a recent national survey of nearly 2,000 physicians.
A variety of medical professional ethics codes, including the American Medical Association’s, say physicians have a duty to report other doctors whose substance abuse, mental health or other problems could endanger patients. But the survey, whose results were published in the July 14 Journal of the American Medical Association, found that just 64% of physicians completely agreed that they had an obligation to report all impaired or incompetent doctors. The rest of the physicians either “somewhat agreed” that they were obliged to report problem colleagues or disagreed that they had such a responsibility.
The whole shebang.