Intended for healthcare professionals


Prescriber’s narcophobia syndrome: physicians’ disease and patients’ misfortune

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 09 December 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b4987
  1. Boris D Veysman, assistant professor, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, USA
  1. veysmabo{at}

    Prescriber’s narcophobia syndrome (PNS) is a professionally disabling neuropsychiatric malady. It strikes physicians who, as medical students, wished to alleviate suffering and improve patients’ wellbeing. Once afflicted, physicians become frustrated by patients in pain and treat them without compassion.

    Physicians succumb to PNS early in practice and often for decades. However, brief remissions occur when treating a malpractice attorney, hospital administrator, or someone who reminds the physician of himself or herself. PNS is highly infectious, passed at the bedside from teachers to students.

    Usually the victim of a physician with PNS projects obvious …

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