Medical boards and fitness to practice: The case of Teleka Patrick, MD

Katrina A Bramstedt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Medical boards and fitness-to-practice committees aim to ensure that medical students and physicians have "good moral character" and are not impaired in their practice of medicine.

METHOD 

Presented here is an ethical analysis of stalking behavior by physicians and medical students, with focus on the case of Teleka Patrick, MD (a psychiatry resident practicing medicine while under a restraining order due to her alleged stalking behavior).

CONCLUSIONS

While a restraining order is not generally considered a criminal conviction, stalking behavior is clearly unprofessional and a marker of inappropriate character and fitness, yet the reporting obligations for such matters are complex. Medical schools and training programs that fail to assess, record, and report matters of moral conduct such as this potentially allow impaired students to graduate and enter the work force (unless a robust licensing process identifies them). Patrick's case should be a wake-up call for medical schools and medical boards to better integrate the professionalism domain into their operations. Further, the professionalism of students and doctors need to be integrated into the legal domain, so that those who are unfit to practice are, in fact, prevented from doing so. Guidance for integration is provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-153
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Ethics
Volume27
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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Stalking
stalking
fitness
Medical Schools
Medical Students
medical student
Ethical Analysis
physician
Medicine
medicine
Students
Physicians
work force
school program
Licensure
psychiatry
Psychiatry
training program
obligation
student

Cite this

Bramstedt, Katrina A. / Medical boards and fitness to practice : The case of Teleka Patrick, MD. In: Journal of Clinical Ethics. 2016 ; Vol. 27, No. 2. pp. 146-153.
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Medical boards and fitness to practice : The case of Teleka Patrick, MD. / Bramstedt, Katrina A.

In: Journal of Clinical Ethics, Vol. 27, No. 2, 2016, p. 146-153.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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N2 - BACKGROUNDMedical boards and fitness-to-practice committees aim to ensure that medical students and physicians have "good moral character" and are not impaired in their practice of medicine.METHOD Presented here is an ethical analysis of stalking behavior by physicians and medical students, with focus on the case of Teleka Patrick, MD (a psychiatry resident practicing medicine while under a restraining order due to her alleged stalking behavior).CONCLUSIONSWhile a restraining order is not generally considered a criminal conviction, stalking behavior is clearly unprofessional and a marker of inappropriate character and fitness, yet the reporting obligations for such matters are complex. Medical schools and training programs that fail to assess, record, and report matters of moral conduct such as this potentially allow impaired students to graduate and enter the work force (unless a robust licensing process identifies them). Patrick's case should be a wake-up call for medical schools and medical boards to better integrate the professionalism domain into their operations. Further, the professionalism of students and doctors need to be integrated into the legal domain, so that those who are unfit to practice are, in fact, prevented from doing so. Guidance for integration is provided.

AB - BACKGROUNDMedical boards and fitness-to-practice committees aim to ensure that medical students and physicians have "good moral character" and are not impaired in their practice of medicine.METHOD Presented here is an ethical analysis of stalking behavior by physicians and medical students, with focus on the case of Teleka Patrick, MD (a psychiatry resident practicing medicine while under a restraining order due to her alleged stalking behavior).CONCLUSIONSWhile a restraining order is not generally considered a criminal conviction, stalking behavior is clearly unprofessional and a marker of inappropriate character and fitness, yet the reporting obligations for such matters are complex. Medical schools and training programs that fail to assess, record, and report matters of moral conduct such as this potentially allow impaired students to graduate and enter the work force (unless a robust licensing process identifies them). Patrick's case should be a wake-up call for medical schools and medical boards to better integrate the professionalism domain into their operations. Further, the professionalism of students and doctors need to be integrated into the legal domain, so that those who are unfit to practice are, in fact, prevented from doing so. Guidance for integration is provided.

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