This column has limited ability to verify information, but the plight of mentally ill physicians has gained some attention and information has been voluntarily submitted. One person claiming to be a physician sent this to the column in Dec. 2015. It’s a heartbreaking story.:
“Please contact me if you want an additional illustration of the Ca Medical Board’s draconian, career and life destroying treatment of physicians who have the misfortune to struggle with mental illness in their personal life and have made the terrible mistake of seeking treatment voluntarily and openly for it.”
At this point in the message, contact information was offered and is being omitted for privacy reasons. The physician’s license number provided is also censored for privacy reasons. In verifying the license number on the board’s website, the physician’s license was suspended last year and a petition to revoke the license was issued this month. There are graphic details about the physicians mental health issues on the website. Details about her suicide attempts, involuntary commitment, and interactions with the police are given.
Here is the rest of the person’s e-mail that was sent to the column:
“I am now shamed forever- my diagnosis and immediate suspension posted on the Med board website in perpetuity license **** despite the fact that I have voluntarily not worked in over a year due to health concerns, have been receiving intensive treatment since August for PTSD in Az where I am not licensed and had planned to do a mini residency for reentry physicians to transition back to autonomous practice confident of my skills after a period of non practice. I was evaluated and treated at Sierra Tucson- a referral site for the Az medical board- three month residential evaluation by a multidisciplinary team headed by a psychiatrist who regularly evaluates impaired physicians- the specialists not only found no evidence of actual impairment or safety risk that would merit any disciplinary action or limitation in my practice but, in the end, encouraged me to get additional training in PTSD treatment and return to Sierra Tucson as a full time staff psychiatrist in 24 months. ( I have a letter From my doctor there documenting this which He shared with the Ca board to no avail. ) There have been no patient or workplace complaints and I have no history of substance abuse. – the BD only justification that I am a danger to the public is simply based on my prior history and evidence taken from my private medical records while I was under less than optimal treatment but still seeking help- which is now being used as the principal evidence to accuse me, and likely take severe and career destroying disciplinary action against my license . I graduated at the top of my medical school class, I was a chief resident, I was recruited to the faculty of my training program after I finished training, I taught, did research, program innovation and patient care were my passions. And now the work that brought such meaning to my life and that managed to alleviate the suffering of patients in pain is gone… Forever, really. I will even automatically lose my dual board certifications because of California’s handling of the simple fact that I , too, am human.”
While this column is not investigative in any way, it’s not difficult to look up physicians and their records on the California Medical Board website. It really is horrifying that the board submits physicians with mental impairments to this kind of public humiliation.