n Obstetrics and Gynaecology Forum - Ethics opinion : the practitioner in need of care : ethics

Volume 22, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1027-9148



The generally used way of defining impairment when referring to medical practitioners is the inability to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety for patients. This may be due to progressive physical or mental illness of the practitioner, loss of motor skills, deterioration through ageing or excessive use or abuse of alcohol or drugs, be it high schedule medication or illicit drugs (AMA 2011, Dhai 2006). It is important to note that the entire projection of the statement is towards the patient, care of the patient and safety aspects of the patients. A practitioner who may be impaired would internalise the dilemma but the reality is that the interest of the patient is paramount and that dictates the dealings with the practitioner.

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