30 Years of Change Campaign

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Stan Segal, MD - PHP Memories

I entered recovery in 1983 as an intern, predating the PHP by approximately four years. I dealt directly with the state of Pennsylvania, and was granted a full and unrestricted license in 1985 when applying for full licensure, with reasonable conditions such as random urines, notification of receiving any prescriptions for controlled substances, and notification of practice location. This was considered a disciplinary action, and remained on my license for approximately 25 years, something that would not have occurred if the PHP existed at that time.

I first encountered the PHP in 1987, when appearing at a hearing for a fellow resident at Hahnemann who was being dismissed from a neurosurgical program for substance abuse. Despite the advocacy of the newly formed PHP, the resident was expelled from the program. I was impressed by the passion of that advocacy, and was also fortunate to be directed to the PRN network in Florida, as I was about to move there to practice. This helped me secure a license in that state, due to the burgeoning connection between the physician advocacy groups of Pennsylvania and Florida.

I returned to Pennsylvania in 1991, and became involved with the PHP at that time, being involved as a participant, committee member, committee chair, and monitor. I have had the good fortune to know the staff and all the directors, and personally witnessed their dedication to the physicians suffering from chemical dependency, as well as their willingness to help direct physicians with other disorders towards the appropriate caregivers.

One of my favorite memories of PHP was of a retreat we held in Gettysburg, when a number of participants and their families met for a weekend of education and recovery. Traipsing around the battlefields of Gettysburg in complete darkness with our children beside us as we looked for ghosts was an experience I will never forget. It was a total blast. I have had the good fortune to see the evolution of PHP throughout the years from a variety of perspectives, and all have been positive. I am grateful for the advocacy provided, and the second chance it has provided me and others to pursue our careers.