The Ethical Component in Knowing When It’s Time to File a Disability ClaimSeptember 26, 2011 | Disability Claim Denials, Disability Insurance Attorney, Filing Disability Claims
The dentist considering a disability insurance claim is faced with a difficult decision: is it really time to look after his own health, or should he just keep working through the pain? An article by Richard Gunderman, a Professor at Indiana University’s School of Medicine, in American Medical News’ Ethics Forum argues that, while doctors should not be too preoccupied with their own health, they must also consider the safety of their patients: “As physicians, we bear a duty to recognize our own health-related limitations and take appropriate steps to safeguard those that depend on us.”
On the one hand, a physician’s or dentist’s disability or impairment may be so severe that he sincerely doubts his ability to safely care for his patients. He may already be working fewer shifts, seeking work accommodations, delegating tasks to his colleagues, and struggling to work around his disability. He might genuinely fear that when the pain is at its worst, his patients’ health is at risk.
On the other hand, the mere pursuit of a disability insurance claim can be taxing. Insurers often resort to ruthless tactics to undermine a medical professional’s credibility and tear holes in legitimate evidence of disability just so that they can deny the claim and save a dollar.
To complicate the matter, many dentists have family members who depend on their income. The potential for a prolonged disability insurance claim denial—and the resulting financial and emotional distress—can be daunting.
Gunderman suggests a solution: the dentist should ask himself if he is still physically able to accomplish the selfless goals that drew him to the profession and commit himself thoroughly to the patients and to the community. “If we can position ourselves on the appropriate trajectory toward this higher end,” says Gunderman, “the lesser goals, including the health of physicians, will find their proper orientation.”
But when the pain makes that impossible, it might be time to pursue a disability insurance claim. The decision may be evidence of deeper commitment to patient care: ”What might seem at first glance an admission of weakness,” writes Gunderman, ”turns out to offer powerful testimony to the strength of a physician’s dedication to patients.”
The disability insurance attorneys at Comitz | Beethe provide legal representation to protect the disability benefits of medical and dental professionals nationwide and throughout metropolitan Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tucson, Flagstaff and Yuma. We provide disability income claim advice, assistance with filing disability claims, including completion of disability claim forms and representation in disability insurance litigation.