The traits of a 'disciplined' doctor

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What puts a physician in California at higher risk of being disciplined by the state's licensing board? Practicing in certain specialties, increasing age, and being male are some characteristics, according to a recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine (3/22/04).

Obstetrician/gynecologists, general practitioners, psychiatrists, and family practitioners were more likely to be disciplined than internal medicine physicians, according to researchers from the Medical Board of California and the University of California, San Francisco. Moreover, increasing age in 20-year intervals and being male "were positively and independently associated with an increased likelihood of discipline."

The researchers, who reviewed 890 physicians disciplined by the state licensing board between July 1, 1998 and June 30, 2001, also found that physicians who were board certified were less likely to have action taken against their licenses. In contrast, those who received their medical education outside of the United States or Canada were more at risk for being disciplined.

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