How PBI Helped a Physician Make Necessary Changes

How PBI Helped a Physician Make Necessary Changes

January 2021

The following is a real story from a course graduate who shares his journey after working with PBI Education. Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Dr. Kent started his career wanting to help anyone in need. As someone who has been sober for 12 years, the internist was drawn to patients struggling with alcoholism and addiction, and they were drawn to him. That meant his practice was dominated by patients with challenging and risky behaviors.

“Let’s face it,” says Dr. Kent, “people who are recovering from alcohol or drugs have special needs. Like a lot of doctors I know, I had a bit of a superiority complex. I thought ‘I can help these patients without worrying about any repercussions.’”

The initial complaint brought against Dr. Kent was minor, but it triggered a wide-ranging investigation. The state medical board discovered that, over the past eight years, a handful of patients under Dr. Kent’s care had died after abusing drugs or alcohol. Although it appeared that nothing Dr. Kent did contributed to their deaths, and at least one patient had ignored his advice, the medical board put him on probation for five years. “They said I should have known that my patients were getting drugs from multiple doctors,” he explains. “And they were right. There was a degree of carelessness that I was responsible for.”

At the suggestion of his lawyer, Dr. Kent attended a number of PBI Education courses. He learned ways to (according to him) “revolutionize” his practice in the Medical Record Keeping and Prescribing courses. But it was the Medical Ethics and Professionalism course that taught him the importance of protecting his ability to continue to care for patients safely. Before he could return to helping patients, he said “PBI showed me that the first person I needed to save was myself and my medical license.” 

As part of the Personalized Protection Plan he created at the end of the Medical Ethics and Professional course, Dr. Kent decided to make his practice as safe as possible by shifting his focus to caring for patients with lower-risk issues. “I came to realize that caring for patients who have a strep throat or a skin rash may not be as challenging as treating people in the depths of addiction, but they deserve good health care just the same,” he explains. “It may not give the same rush as saving someone from their worst habits, but it’s just as valuable. And a lot safer.”

Dr. Kent also credits PBI’s Medical Ethics and Professionalism course for sparking changes in his life outside of the office. It pushed him to consider how he got into such trouble in the first place. He began questioning his work-life balance. Was he getting enough sleep, exercising, spending enough time with his family? Was he eating well or skipping meals to keep up with an unmanageable workload? In the end, says Dr. Kent, PBI helped him realize he had to make changes,

“Because if you don’t change, you’re going to repeat the same mistakes that got you into hot water in the first place.”

Like so many other PBI graduates, Dr. Kent has emerged from his struggle feeling grateful. “Thanks to PBI and the encouragement of my late wife, I no longer take ordinary things for granted — my relationships with my children, my family, and the world at large. My tenuous grasp on a spiritual life has also bloomed and my outlook has improved. I am incredibly grateful.”