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Help for Addicted Anesthesiologists: Preserving Careers

Recent reports have shown that addicted anesthesiologists monitored by physician health programs have good outcomes and high success rates upon return to work. Yet, there continues to be a lack of empathy among physicians toward addicted anesthesiologists, and an assumption that they can’t recover. Speak Confidentially with a Promises Recovery Advisor at 844-876-5568.

Societal disdain for substance abuse finds no greater recipient for stigma than addicted physicians. Among physicians, anesthesiologists have received the brunt of this stigma. Physicians hold a position of trust, necessary to their trade, and so it is understandable that betrayal of that trust would be met with incredulity. It also seems appropriate that fellow physicians would be among those most offended, perceiving a threat to the profession and the societal standing of the physician.

Among anesthesiologists, however, a combination of very understandable defensiveness and very poor research has amplified their hostile response to their fallen colleagues. The negative response among anesthesiologists to one of their own who develops a substance abuse or dependence problem is profound and disturbing.

Two survey studies of anesthesiology training programs (Meeks et al and Collins et al) are often cited to support a negative view toward outcomes for anesthesiologists. These studies amounted to opinion polls and by their nature emphasized the cases wherein outcomes were poor.

Other studies, less often cited, show excellent outcomes for anesthesiologists, even with return to anesthesiology (Pelton et al, Paris et al, Domino et al, McClellan et al). It is our opinion at Professionals Treatment at Promises that most anesthesiologists can safely return to practice if safeguards are in place.

Professionals Treatment at Promises can conduct evaluations and/or treatment that can allow us to advocate for return to work. Call Dr. Skipper at (310) 633-4595 to discuss these programs or call our admissions team at 844-876-5568 for other questions or to make arrangements for admission.

Posted on November 30th, 2011

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