Chemically Dependent Physicians and Informed Consent Disclosure
Ackerman, Terrence F.
Journal of Addictive Diseases. 1996; 15(2): 25-42.
Developments in law, professional guidelines, and public attitudes support informed consent disclosure by physicians who have been treated for chemical dependency. This view is built on the apparent materiality of the risk of relapse to informed treatment decisions by patients. Several considerations undercut this position. The probability is remote that a patient will be injured by a recovering physician who suffers an undetected relapse while being properly monitored. Monitoring by impaired physicians programs provides a more sensitive and specific mechanism for detecting relapsed physicians. Moreover, compromise of the privacy and employment rights of recovering physicians by consent disclosure is not justified if programs provide rigorous monitoring that protects the welfare of patients. Finally, required consent disclosure will reduce referrals of chemically dependent physicians to impaired physicians programs, thereby increasing the danger to patients. Limiting demands for required consent disclosure necessitates effective operation of impaired physicians programs.
Alcohol Abuse; Attitudes; Competence; Confidentiality; Consent; Disclosure; Disease; Drug Abuse; Employment; Federal Government; Government; Guidelines; HIV Seropositivity; Informed Consent; Injuries; Law; Legal Aspects; Legal Liability; Legal Obligations; Liability; Organizational Policies; Organizations; Patient Care; Patients; Physicians; Privacy; Probability; Professional Competence; Professional Organizations; Public Opinion; Regulation; Rehabilitation; Rights; Risk; Self Regulation;
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