What do we do when a health care professional needs a health care professional, but won’t get help?

My parents Rustom Damania, MD (an internist) and Shireen Damania, MD (a psychiatrist) join me to discuss how to recognize and intervene with healthcare professionals who are struggling with substance abuse, mental illness, and physical challenges such as dementia. We also read an obituary from a young surgeon with depression and anxiety who took his own life and the lives of his children this month.

This is an important topic, so please share.

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One Response to “The Doctor’s Impaired; Now What?”

  1. Erine Cressell

    I’m 7 years clean and sober! I started as an RN in a busy ER as a new grad in 2005. I had an abusive husband that was an addict that I had 2 kids with. By 2009 I was depending on opiates and benzos as a way to cope with daily life. I lost my job, home and kids. I was arrested and convicted of a felony, and my first husband died of a drug overdose one night after I went to sleep I found him next to me the very next morning. Everyone said because I was a Registered Nurse and that I knew better to get involved with domestic violence and become addicted to drugs so I needed to be held to a higher standard of the law and be sent to prison. The judge saw differently and ordered me to treatment and probation. I took my last drink and drug February 1st 2011. It took me 3-4 years in recovery to get my nursing license back, find a Dr’s office willing to look past the conviction, and regain custody of my children. I now work in a hospital because I applied for a job and was lucky that the manager and HR believed in 2nd chances. I didn’t go back to ER but I work on a PCU. I’m so grateful that I found recovery and got this second chance. However, I heavily guard my anonymity at work because of the stigma that we as healthcare workers and place on the mentally ill and drug addicted. I’ve heard coworkers call them “junkies” and “just let them die already “. It terrifies me to wonder what they would think about me if they knew I was a recovering addict. Sometimes I feel as if I live a double life. I remember when I was still an ER Nurse and knew that I needed serious help, I wouldn’t seek it because of the way I heard co-workers talk about people like me! I wonder if I would’ve gotten help sooner if the things would have turned out better. Thank you for bringing this topic into the light. I hope one day we can end this stigma!