Tom and Jack have been friends since the start of medical school, and are about to start their third-year rotations. Tom considers himself a social drinker, but he noticed that Jack has been drinking more and more over the last year. Tom was not concerned about this during the 2 years of basic science training, but now that Jack will start seeing patients on a more regular basis, he has become worried. He wants to get some help, but does not want to strain his friendship.
Question for Discussion
What should Tom do?
AMA Code of Medical Ethics Opinion E-8.15 on substance abuse, E-9.031 on reporting impaired, incompetent or unethical colleagues, and E-9.04 on discipline and medicine, as well as AMSA principles regarding physician impairment and substance use, all speak to the issues facing Tom. Are these opinions and principles helpful in your decision-making regarding this case? Why or why not?