Is Your Doctor On Drugs?

Posted on November 04, 2015 by Shapiro Law Group

When we go to a hospital or private practice to receive help from our doctors, we expect a dedication to professionalism and safety. In the television show House M.D., audiences were introduced to a cruel and insensitive doctor who swallowed painkillers like candy. What if there were actually doctors like Greg House with hidden drug problems? The fiction is not far from reality: it is estimated by the National Institutes of Health that 10 to 14 percent of health care workers are addicted to drugs or alcohol.

When doctors with active addictions treat patients, the consequences can be fatal. For example, a doctor working in a multistate hospital shared needles with patients, infecting 45 with hepatitis C. The patients did not realize their doctor had been injecting himself with pain medications using the same needle. After infecting 45 patients and killing one, the doctor was sentenced to 39 years in prison.

A 2004 Boston Globe article recounts another horror story of a drug-addicted doctor. The article describes an orthopedic spine surgeon who operated on a patient while on methamphetamine. Methamphetamine is one of the most powerful stimulants in existence, and this doctor was operating on one of the most sensitive parts of the human body. Midway through the surgery, the doctor left the room with the patient still opened up on the operating table.

Can Doctors Receive Help for Drug Abuse?

Doctors struggling with substance abuse can seek confidential treatment. Only 22 percent of physicians who seek treatment test positive for drugs five years later. The consequences of harming patients while under the influence are devastating for both physicians with substance abuse problems and patients.

There is no excuse for treating patients while under the influence of mind-altering substances. The risk to patient safety is enormous, and no person deserves to be harmed by the selfish or negligent actions of others.

Shapiro Law GroupTampa Bay Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Tags: PatientSafety


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