American Doctors Are Killing Themselves and No One Is Talking About It–By Gabrielle Glaser via the Daily Beast

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 7.31.40 PMVia the Daily Beast:

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 7.32.01 PM


“Doctors who acknowledge problems with substances or mental health are typically referred to a physicians health program, or PHP. These organizations evaluate, monitor, and treat physicians. Established initially in the 1970s, PHPs, which exist in almost every state, were intended to divert physicians suffering from alcohol or drug problems from censure from their state medical boards. PHPs are incorporated as nonprofits and have autonomy from the boards. But some PHPs breach confidentiality if they fear a doctor is a danger to the public. And some state medical boards also fund their PHPs. Since the boards hold the keys to licensure, many say this is a conflict of interest.

There are growing concerns about whether PHPs have the right approach to the job. They typically send doctors to rehab programs rooted in the faith-and-abstinence principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. While AA’s 12 steps might work for some with alcohol-use disorders, critics say most PHP recommendations are ill suited for patients with mental health problems.

J. Wesley Boyd, a Harvard psychiatrist who left his post as assistant director of the Massachusetts PHP over a disagreement about practices there, says PHPs routinely intimidate their clients. In an article he co-wrote for the Journal of Addictions Medicine in 2012, Boyd noted that many doctors who seek or are referred by colleagues for treatment are mandated to attend pre-selected rehabilitation facilities for 60 to 90 days. Afterward, they must agree to monitoring and drug testing, typically at their own cost. When doctors resist PHP recommendations, they risk losing their livelihood and their licenses.”

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10 thoughts on “American Doctors Are Killing Themselves and No One Is Talking About It–By Gabrielle Glaser via the Daily Beast

  1. Reblogged this on NorthernMSW: Advocacy, Aging, Healthcare & Social Work Issues….. and commented:
    This is so sad and so unnecessary! If healthcare professionals have the support and supervision needed along with a debriefing session or peer group discussion to discuss what they face each day-perhaps there would be less suicides.
    “Since the average annual caseload of most family doctors is roughly 2,300 patients, 400 physician deaths could mean that a million Americans lose their doctors to suicide each year.”
    Let’s think about those numbers…… “Suicide, of course, is never rational, and those who can best explain their decision are no longer here.”
    More awareness, more education, more support are needed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. To subject yourself to the system,is to live a non-life. My life is so good,aside from what PHS demanded,that it is unbelievable and actually,if you heard the story,you would be shocked. Please understand,I am not claiming innocence just basic life common sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One factor which may be overlooked in PHP influences towards pushing a doctor over the edge—pain. As I understand it, physicians in PHP programs can be discouraged or EVEN PROHIBITED from receiving pain meds properly prescribed for painful conditions, even fractures, surgery, etc. not to mention chronic pain from spinal stenosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, MS, etc. We have reports from doctors about this.

    A PHP program not allowing a physician to receive adequate pain treatments for painful conditions, acute or chronic, amounts to torture—is barbaric beyond belief, way beyond just inhumane. And to do so without accountability—surely that is behind some physician suicides.

    Liked by 1 person

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