The process of physicians falling ill and consequences for their professionalism


  • Bárbara Marco-Gómez Universidad de Zaragoza
  • Candela Pérez-Alvárez Universidad de Zaragoza
  • Alba Gallego-Royo Universidad de Zaragoza
  • Teresa Martínez-Boyero Universidad de Zaragoza
  • Rogelio Altisent Universidad de Zaragoza
  • Teresa Delgado-Marroquín Universidad de Zaragoza
  • María Pilar Astier-Peña Universidad de Zaragoza


The idiosyncrasy of the medical profession, the characteristic personality traits of the physician and the lack of specific training to properly recognize and treat one’s own vulnerability dispose this group to suffer more mental pathology and probably worse control of other medical diseases. Most of the studies promoted so far focus on the psychiatric and addictive concerns of the physician, from the point of view of the sick doctor as being at risk for malpractice and to guarantee the safety of their patients. The narrative review of scientific literature (MEDLINE, EMBASE and IME 1985-2016) has shown that we do not have in the Spanish-speaking environment updated information about the doctor as a patient, despite being a topic of incipient media repercussion and undoubtedly relevant from the point of view of patient safety, professionalism and medical ethics and as well as the welfare of professionals. The characteristic of a sick doctor are more complex than the rest of patients with a conflict of roles and repercussions on professional ethics and the quality of care.


illness, physician, medical student, junior physician, retirement, self-prescription, self-treatment, access to health care, health plan, mental health, medical ethics, professionalism