A Dr. Ronald Schouten presented data on 82 such doctors referred for psychiatric evaluations. "Displays of anger" or behavior that "spooked" colleagues (such as wearing a gun in the operating room) were the most common cause for referral. Other problems were sexual harassment, theft, substance abuse and one of my favorites, "communication" problems.
Anesthesiology makes up the most popular specialty for these problems which really surprised me. Most anesthesiologists I know are rather laid back types. Among the internal medicine specialty, cardiologists are the most likely offending subspecialists. Surgeons are surprisingly under-represented. I see this as a good thing. I am not warmed by the idea of an angry surgeon with unresolved issues looming over me with sharp cutlery. Particularly since I will probably have already been anesthetized by a psychopath.
In California, the state medical board investigates some 10,000 complaints a year 20% of which are felt to warrant further follow-up.
It seems that, although there's not a lot of data on this, most such physicians are deemed able to return to medicine hopefully cured.
The article closed with the following observation:
“Physicians are amazingly lacking in insight into their own behavior,” Dr. Schouten said. “One of the things treatment programs struggle with is how to teach insight to these very bright, well-trained people.”