Medical practitioners and their families as patients

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Abstract:

Objective:

 To explore diagnoses, treatment methods, compliance and outcome in a cohort of medical practitioners and their families seen in a private practice setting to identify characteristics of this group. Methods:

 A systematic retrospective case-note review was conducted of all medical practitioners, their partners and children seen in a private practice setting over 15 years, documenting mode of referral, diagnosis, attendances, mode of treatment, and outcome. Results:

 Seventy-seven medical families were identified, including 45 doctors, 21 partners and 11 offspring as the primary patient; 38 of the doctor group were self-referred. Doctors and their families were likely to accept treatment guidelines as recommended and to continue until a joint decision was made to terminate. Conclusions:

 Doctors presenting themselves for treatment in a private practice are a highly motivated and compliant group, who make significant changes in therapy. They defy directly the usual findings on ‘impaired physicians’ who may be a different group, the latter generally being referred for psychiatric treatment as ‘impaired physicians’ through statutory bodies such as medical boards. With increasing de-stigmatization and increasing education on the benefits of self-care, doctors may be seeking appropriate early intervention.

Keywords: doctors; medical practitioner; outcome; private patient; psychiatry; treatment

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1039-8562.2003.02053.x

Publication date: March 1, 2004

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