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Mandatory Reporting of Loss of Consciousness or Confusion Due to Alcohol-Reply

James Kitchens, MD
JAMA. 1995;273(23):1833. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520470041020.
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In Reply.  —Dr Drucker's letter highlights an interesting problem for some physicians. He calls attention to the potential dilemma that physicians face as they try to identify people with alcohol problems, given the legal requirement that California physicians report all patients who have had episodes of a loss of consciousness or episodes of confusion. In California, this report would be filed with the local health department, which in turn would report to the Department of Motor Vehicles. I would not encourage physicians to fail to discharge their legal responsibilities as defined by California law or other states with similar regulations, nor would I want to do anything that would discourage physicians in their attempt to identify patients who may have unrecognized alcohol-related problems.I would call the reader's attention to my article. The MAST is composed of 24 questions. Its length and the time it takes to administer it preclude


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