Your doctor could be drunk, addicted to drugs or outright incompetent, but other physicians may not blow the whistle.
A new survey finds that many American physicians fail to report troubled colleagues to authorities, believing that someone else will take care of it, that nothing will happen if they act or that they could be targeted for retribution.
A surprising 17 percent of the doctors surveyed had direct, personal knowledge of an impaired or incompetent physician in their workplaces, said the study's lead author, Catherine DesRoches of Harvard Medical School.
One-third of those doctors had not reported the matter to authorities such as hospital officials or state medical boards. The findings, appearing in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association, are based on a 2009 survey of 1,891 practicing U.S. doctors.