According to a 2016 survey, several common issues top the list of ethical challenges commonly encountered by Americans. In light of the increased scrutiny afforded to opioid pain medications, many doctors worry about overprescribing pain medication.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, others worry about undertreating pain simply, perhaps withholding medications from deserving patients for fear of inviting oversight. For doctor compensation schemes that are increasingly tied to patient satisfaction, under treating may also pose a financial risk. For the more than 65 million Americans who suffer from chronic pain, a physician’s prescribing habits may very inform where they seek treatment.
Yet one issue, in particular, was telling because of the response it invoked: reporting an impaired colleague. Although the professional consensus clearly identifies this behavior as dangerous, many admitted they would wrestle about the best way to report a colleague’s unsafe behavior. The hesitation arises from the implications of a professional license inquiry. Doctors understand that a medical license is their livelihood, and that even a single adverse ruling from the respective ethical board could bring financial disaster.
As a law firm that has helped many medical professionals in need of license defense, we understand exactly what is at stake. Although doctors may be susceptible to the same challenges regarding substance abuse as other professionals, they are often held to a higher standard. Our law office works to get doctors they help they need before a professional backlash has begun.
Although there may no simple answers to ethical gray areas, seeking legal representation can be a proactive step towards avoiding professional repercussion. We have the experience to protect your interests while responding to difficult questions from colleagues or medical boards.
Source: MedScape, “Doctors Describe Their Toughest Ethical Dilemmas,” Shelly Reese, Feb. 27, 2017