Features  |   November 2014
Mental Health: Worries About Ourselves and Others
Author Affiliations
  • Gregory L. Rose, M.D.
    ASA Advisory Group on Physician Health and Well Being
Article Information
Ethics / Medicolegal Issues / Patient Safety / Pediatric Anesthesia / Quality Improvement / Features
Features   |   November 2014
Mental Health: Worries About Ourselves and Others
ASA Monitor 11 2014, Vol.78, 14-16.
ASA Monitor 11 2014, Vol.78, 14-16.
Gregory L. Rose, M.D. is Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, University of Kentucky Medical Center, Lexington.

 Gregory L. Rose, M.D. is Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, University of Kentucky Medical Center, Lexington.

Raeford E. Brown, Jr., M.D. is Professor of Anesthesiology and Pediatrics at University of Kentucky Medical Center, Lexington.

 Raeford E. Brown, Jr., M.D. is Professor of Anesthesiology and Pediatrics at University of Kentucky Medical Center, Lexington.

“Bill” has been your colleague for 10 years. He has been a good clinician and educator, and was promoted last year to associate professor at your institution. Over the last six months, however, Bill has been moody, gruff and argumentative with staff and surgeons. He seems preoccupied and has lost interest in teaching. Should you say something? What should you do?
Inevitably, our colleagues and each of us individually will experience low periods in our personal and professional lives. For physicians, it is important to recognize challenges that negatively affect our professional demeanor and can reduce vigilance. Unfortunately, many physicians are not adept at introspection and personal observation, leaving it to those around them to observe changes in behavior that may be associated with unsafe practice. This common situation is complicated by a lack of knowledge or lack of desire on the part of partners, colleagues and friends to note changes in behavior that suggest internal struggles. It is often the case that the professional community surrounding an individual only becomes cognizant of a partner’s problems in retrospect after a bad outcome – a patient’s death, a colleague’s suicide or the discovery of a longstanding problem with drugs and/or alcohol.
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