You are the Chief of Surgery at a major urban medical center. Dr X is a 67-year-old general surgeon who has been your close friend since you were residents. Dr X has had excellent clinical results throughout his long career, but during the last year you have been hearing anecdotal reports from several sources that his behavior has become somewhat erratic. Cases that have been reviewed in the departmental morbidity and mortality conference suggest that his complication rate may have increased slightly during this period. This Monday morning, a surgeon with a well-known long-standing dislike of Dr X has come to your office to report indignantly that he detected the odor of alcohol when Dr X came in for an emergency case the previous afternoon. What should you do?
- (1)Refer the matter to the hospital Chief-of-Staff
- (2)Meet with Dr X about the report, interview the other parties, document your findings, and refer Dr X for counseling, if indicated
- (3)Appoint an investigative committee, which you will chair
- (4)Meet with Dr X. and document your findings carefully
- (5)Make extensive notes and wait to see if it happens again
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Accepted: September 5, 2003Houston, Tex, and Columbia, Mo
© 2004 Elsevier Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.