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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4872
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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My psychiatrist has been ill and is too ill to drive to work

Resolved Question:

My psychiatrist has been ill and is too ill to drive to work or on pain meds and can't drive to work. In any event, he gets a ride back and forth to his office, which is only 2 miles from his home. But he is still practicing. Last year, same thing, he closed his practice down for 3 weeks due to illness, told me he was in bed most of the time. During this time, he had 20 minute phone appointments with a patient who was depressed. Then when he started having office hours, he was unable to drive to work - reason unspecified. As I said, he lives 2 miles from his office. Is he fit to practice?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

DoctorZ :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern regarding your psychiatrist

DoctorZ :

I am sorry that you psychiatrist is going through these medical difficulties

Customer:

I want to know if he should be practicing or refer me to someone else who isn't ill.

DoctorZ :

Now physically I would say that he is not fit to practice because he cannot give adequate time to his patients.

DoctorZ :

I definitely think he should be referring his patients to another psychiatrist, at least temporarily

Customer:

He is doing whole appointments now, it was last year he only had 20 minute phone appointments.

Customer:

Is there a directive in the state medical board rules about this?

DoctorZ :

It is a part of his ethics, and mine, to give the best service to his patients and when he cannot do that then he is supposed to refer his patient to someone who can

Customer:

Tell me why you think he should refer patients?

Customer:

Can I contact the state board about this? What would they do?

DoctorZ :

When you cannot physically perform your job appropriately then ethically you are not giving the patient the best service possible, that is why you must refer. It is in our ethics to do this when we are ill, injured, or for personal reasons

Customer:

I really do wonder if he is totally there, cognitively, or might not be fully able to think clearly and make the right decisions for a patient.

DoctorZ :

You can contact the state board and they will inquire as to the complaint, and remind him of his ethical duties. Now if this is a first violation really then he will just get a warning and a reminder. Now if he has repeated violations for this, then the state board will most likely take more serious action

Customer:

This is the first violation.

DoctorZ :

Now you said a year ago he was doing 20 minute phone appointments, but now is doing whole appointments. Is he better now?

Customer:

No, he is again unable to drive right now and getting rides back and forth to work. He was able to drive for a number of months and do whole appointments, then recently has become ill again. The state board document says they will give him the name of the patient complaining, I want anonymity

DoctorZ :

Well it depends on the state, they need the name of the patient for the record in case it gets more serious later, possibly for legal reasons, but since you said this is his first violation, he most likely will get a stern reminder to follow his ethics and your name most likely will not be used. But like I said it depends on the state, so you can always call and explain the situation on that you want anonymity for this and how you should proceed with that.

DoctorZ :

Also our ethics do not allow for us to retaliate against a patient or a colleague if a complaint has been made against us, but I totally understand your concern about being anonymous

Customer:

I understand what you are saying. Last year when he was ill and not practicing, but having the phone appointments, he did not see that a patient was having serious side effects to Wellbutrin and was becoming very depressed within 2-3 days of starting it.

Customer:

He hadn't seen the patient in over 2 weeks.

DoctorZ :

Yeah this is why a physician and patient relationship must be in person. Also him still making appointments during his recovery probably delays his healing because he should just be resting.

Customer:

Okay thanks.

DoctorZ :

Anytime, I am glad to help. Is there anything else I can assist you with today?

Customer:

that's all - you've been helpful

DoctorZ :

Okay, if you have any other questions or concerns you are more than welcome to ask anytime

DoctorZ :

I hope I provided you with excellent service today

Customer:

you have

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4872
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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