Pubdate: Sat, 20 Oct 2001
Source: Asheville Citizen-Times (NC)
Copyright: 2001 Asheville Citizen-Times
Author: Ray Carlson
Bookmark: (Treatment)


The editorial "Addicted Doctors Pose Great Peril For Their Patients" (AC-T, 
Sept. 11) is inaccurate and misleading. The North Carolina Physicians 
Health Program is described as a benevolent intrusion into doctors' private 
lives. However, that "10 percent of those made it their own choice to enter 
treatment" means that it was forced upon the other 90 percent.

Dr. William Stewart Halstead, one of the four founders of Johns Hopkins 
Hospital and considered "the father of modern surgery," was himself a 
morphine addict. We did not find this out until 1969, when we read his 
journal posthumously and found that it was what he used to kick his cocaine 
addiction. Certainly his behavior was beyond reproach, and his addiction 
did not necessitate a "big brother" organization to monitor his activities.

If a famous physician such as Dr. Halstead could lead a highly productive 
life without the unwelcome interference of the North Carolina Physicians 
Health Program or an involuntary 12-step brainwashing program forced upon 
him, I'm not so sure that either doctors or the public would profit from 
such an intrusion now. The program would do better to leave doctors alone 
and treat the underlying causes of addictive behavior to which the 
editorial refers.

Ray Carlson, Redwood City, CA
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