Disciplining doctors for misconduct: character matters, but so does competence

Wachter, R.M.
Submitted: December, 2012

Argues that licensing boards and tribunals are taking their responsibility to the public seriously, with zero tolerance for transgressions that reflect substantial character flaws. However, and more troubling, is that these boards are passive in policing the profession for substandard care. Assuring the public that its physicians possess not only high moral standards but also the requisite knowledge and skills for safe and effective practice is a key regulatory duty. To serve the public’s interest, it will be important for some combination of local care delivery organizations—through more robust peer review processes—and specialty-specific accrediting bodies to do so. When it comes to assessing the fitness of physicians to practice, character matters, but so does competence.

Resource Type:
  • Commentaries & Blogs
  • Medical Ethics
  • Patient Safety & Medical Errors