ACEP Now and Dr. Haney are finalists for a 2019 EXCEL Award for best editorial/opinion piece in a magazine. Winners will be announced June 24, 2019.
I am a board-certified emergency physician licensed to practice medicine in Oregon since 2001. I am a competent and caring physician. I have never been accused of professional misconduct or incompetence, and I have never been sued for malpractice.
I also have a history of recurrent episodes of major depression. Up until 10 years ago, I managed my depression privately without interference or oversight from any medical licensing board. I had never been hospitalized because of mental illness. I had never missed a day of work due to mental illness.
While on vacation in March 2006, I had a severe asthma exacerbation that required an extended course of high-dose prednisone. Experienced prescribers, and many patients, know that mild dose-dependent mood and cognitive changes are fairly common during corticosteroid therapy and that more severe psychiatric side effects are occasionally seen at higher dosage levels.1 The prednisone caused me to become clinically manic for the first time in my life. I realized that my judgment was becoming impaired, so I reported my illness to my employer in order to arrange for a brief medical leave of absence. I also contacted my primary care physician, who had appropriately prescribed the prednisone, and my personal psychiatrist, and I re-established care with a previous psychotherapist. After discussing this matter with a colleague, I asked my employer whether I should preemptively report my illness to the state medical board in order to keep my professional credentials unblemished by rumors about the cause and severity of my symptoms. In response, my employer decided to require that I obtain written permission from the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners (BME) before permitting me to resume work.