When Physicians are Practicing Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

Medical doctors have a duty to treat their patients with the utmost care and respect.  If a physician feels his or her patient has bad, unhealthy habits or addictions, that doctor should counsel the patient about the problem.  However, what happens when the tables turn and it is the physician who has an alcohol or drug problem?  This situation may not be as uncommon as some people think.

Why Do Some Physicians Have Problems with Alcohol or Drugs?

Most physicians feel rewarded by their profession, but they can also feel stressed out.  Being a doctor certainly is not easy and stress in any profession or in any situation for that matter, can lead people to turn to alcohol or drugs to alleviate that stress.  Typically, alcoholism is more of a problem than drug addiction.  However, many physicians have access to medications that are addictive in nature.  For example, emergency room and other hospital physicians have easy access to pain and anti-anxiety medication that often leads to addiction if used on a regular basis.  Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that some physicians may take medication for their own use with such easy access to it.

The reasons for addiction are numerous.  Each person has a very unique situation that may lead him or her to consume alcohol or drugs.  Physicians have a duty of care higher than the average person, thus, if a physician is under the influence while working, the consequences can be very severe, as discussed below.

How Does an Impaired Physician Affect the Welfare of Patients?

Patients put their trust in their doctors.  They trust that they are receiving the proper treatment for their particular ailments.  If a physician is under the influence, he or she may make a mistake and give a patient the wrong medication.  Further, if a surgeon is under the influence while performing a procedure, any small mistake could be fatal.  While addiction is highly problematic in any situation, it is especially problematic for physicians.  Physicians under the influence while working are at a significant risk for losing their medical license and facing disciplinary action from the Kansas Board of Healing Arts.

Physicians who become aware they may have a problem with alcohol or drugs should cease practicing medicine on a temporary basis until they can receive treatment.  Physicians take an oath to ensure they are not putting their patients in harm’s way and not breaching the standard of care.  However, physicians are human just like everyone else, so when they believe their condition could be putting their patients at risk, they need to take a step back and heal themselves.

Physicians who recognize they may have a problem do not deserve to lose their medical licenses.  They deserve to receive treatment and have the opportunity to return to work after making a mistake and coming to terms with that mistake.  In order to overcome challenges with possibly losing a medical license, physicians need the advice and counsel of a highly experienced professional malpractice defense attorney.

Call the Sanger Law Office Now to Schedule Your Free Consultation

If your medical license is at risk, you need a skilled professional license defense attorney on your side to protect your ability to continue working in your profession.  When you are facing a complaint from the Kansas Board of Healing Arts, it can be a stressful and fearful time of your career.  Danielle Sanger of the Sanger Law Office has experience both as a prosecutor and as a professional license defense attorney.  She will provide you with the best representation possible.  To schedule your free consultation with the Sanger Law Office, contact us today by calling 785-979-4353.  You may also contact us online.

How Criminal Convictions Can Affect Your Professional License

Regardless of what your profession is, if your job requires you to have a license under Kansas or Missouri law, you could be at risk for disciplinary action which may lead to a loss of your license if you are convicted of a crime.  Of course, what the crime is, the severity of the crime, and the number of prior convictions all play a role into the potential loss of a professional license.  Further, how you communicate the criminal conviction to your professional licensing board also plays a role.  The more honest and forthright you are with the licensing board, the more lenient the licensing board may be on you.

Depending on what your profession is, a criminal conviction may have a greater or lesser impact than for other professions.  If the criminal conduct is directly linked to the profession, or may have a significant effect on the professional’s ability to carry out his or her job duties, then the penalties may be harsher.  For example, if a veterinarian is convicted of animal cruelty, this would likely alert the Kansas Board of Veterinary Examiners or the Missouri Board of Veterinary Medicine that the veterinarian should no longer be in practice.  On the other hand, if an athletic trainer was convicted of possession of a small amount of marijuana, and such conduct did not occur while on the job, then the Kansas Board of Healing Arts or Missouri Board of Healing Arts may not consider this criminal charge to be one that causes the professional to lose his or her athletic training license.

The Range of Penalties for Disciplinary Actions Against Licensed Professionals

Penalties for professional misconduct range from very minor to very severe. On the minor end, a professional may receive a private reprimand, or slap on the wrist, so to speak (i.e., as long as you don’t commit another crime, you can keep your professional license and continue to work).  The moderate range involves a public reprimand.  For example, a professional’s name may be listed in a publication to show that he or she was disciplined for being convicted of a crime that had, or may have had, some impact on his or her profession.  On the most severe end, a professional could lose his or her license outright without the possibility of getting it back.

Why You Need an Attorney By Your Side

A professional license defense attorney can explain to you all of the potential consequences of your criminal conviction that occurs during the time you have a professional license.  An attorney can also help you in disclosing your criminal conviction to the appropriate board if the board does not already know about it.  Further, an attorney can defend and advocate on your behalf to plead to the board why you deserve to keep your professional license.  While you certainly can fight the board on your own, it is always a good idea to have an expert by your side.

The Sanger Law Office Can Help Your With All Your Professional Licensing Needs

No matter what your situation may be, if your professional license is at risk, or if you simply have questions about how a criminal conviction may affect your professional license, you should speak with a professional license defense attorney as soon as possible.  With her prior experience as a prosecutor, Danielle Sanger of the Sanger Law Office knows what to expect from potential disciplinary proceedings in Kansas and Missouri.  She provides her clients with the devotion they deserve and advocates for them to retain their professional licenses.  To schedule your free consultation with the Sanger Law Office, contact our office today by calling 785-979-4353, or you may contact us online.

Top Three Reasons Why Nurses Lose Their Professional Licenses in Kansas and Missouri

Nurses have the same responsibilities and duties as all other healthcare providers in terms of caring for patients.  Nurses often have much closer contact with patients than physicians, especially in the hospital and nursing home setting.  Patients may form a closer bond with nurses than with their physicians.  From taking a patient’s vitals to bringing them food and medication, nurses serve a very important role in quality healthcare.  Just as is the case with any profession that requires licensure in Kansas and Missouri, nurses must comply with a set of rules set by the board of healing arts.

There are a multitude of reasons why nurses can lose their licenses, however, the three reasons described below are more common than others.  Nurses should ensure they are doing whatever they can to comply with all rules and procedures in order to avoid the risk of facing disciplinary action and possibly losing their licenses.

 (1) Falsifying Patient Medical Records

Nurses have a responsibility to ensure all notes they record for their patients are thorough and accurate.  Mistakes do happen, and some notes may be left out, mistyped, or misprinted.  However, there are situations where nurses intentionally leave notes out or alter notes in order to protect themselves or other healthcare professionals they are working with.  For example, if a nurse forgot to administer medication to a patient, but records on the patient notes that the medication was administered, this is considered falsifying records.  If the patient becomes ill or suffers an adverse reaction because of the missed dose of medication, the nurse could be facing serious consequences from their governing board of healing arts.

(2)  Unprofessional Conduct

Unprofessional conduct is a very broad category of potentially undesirable behavior.  This can range from talking back to a difficult patient with the use of profane language, it could be sexual harassment towards a patient or fellow employee, or it could be simply failing to follow policies and procedures.  The board of healing arts can use discretion to determine if certain conduct is unprofessional to the point where disciplinary action is necessary.  Because the category of unprofessional conduct is so broad, and because patients may interpret certain conduct to be rude, oppressive or offensive, it is highly important that nurses be as cordial as possible with patients, no matter how difficult the patients are.

(3)  Patient Abuse and Neglect

Abuse and neglect of patients can fall into the category of unprofessional conduct, however, abuse and neglect have been the subject of many medical malpractice lawsuits and therefore deserve discussion in a separate category.  Patient abuse and neglect are more prevalent in the nursing home setting than in other settings.  This is because patients in nursing homes require a significant amount of care and attention, and leaving a patient by him or herself for too long can cause serious problems.  For example, if a patient is unable to walk, and needs to go to the bathroom, if that patient is left alone for a long period of time, that patient may attempt to go to the bathroom by getting into a wheelchair without assistance.  This can then lead the patient to fall and be injured.  Further, if a nurse is becoming frustrated with a patient, he or she may use force to control the patient that is deemed abusive.

Nurses can be as responsive and caring as possible and still face situations where they are at risk for facing disciplinary action or possibly losing their professional license.  If a patient complains about anything, the board of healing arts will look into it, even if the complaint is unfounded.  It is important to seek the advice of an attorney to determine what your rights and duties are.

Contact the Sanger Law Office Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation

If your nursing license is at risk, you need the advice and counsel of a highly experienced professional license defense attorney practicing law in both Kansas and Missouri.  Facing disciplinary action with the Kansas or Missouri Board of Healing Arts can leave you stressed out and unsure if you will lose your professional license.  Danielle Sanger of the Sanger Law Office is in a unique position to help you keep your nursing license.  Being a former prosecutor, Danielle Sanger can predict what you may be facing and will use this experience to provide you with the best representation possible.  To learn more, contact the Sanger Law Office today at 785-979-4353 to schedule your free initial consultation with Danielle Sanger.  You may also contact us or online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

The Importance of Speaking With an Attorney If You Are Facing Disciplinary Action

Most people understand the importance of waiting to speak with an attorney before communicating with police if they have been suspected of, or charged of committing a crime.  This rule of thumb also applies in the professional licensing context.  If you say something after being accused of misconduct, what you say could be used against you in disciplinary proceedings, and what you say could lead you to lose your professional license in Kansas or Missouri.

What Should I Do Once I Receive Notice That My Professional License is at Risk?

The second you become aware that your professional license is at risk, you should immediately seek the advice of a professional license defense attorney.  You may think that because you are innocent and should not be subject to possibly losing your professional license, that there’s no need to retain legal counsel.  While you may believe there’s no chance you could face disciplinary action and lose your professional license, you need to be prepared for what your governing licensing board will say and do.  A professional license defense attorney will prepare you for everything you may be facing and what happens during a disciplinary proceeding.

As mentioned briefly above, it is imperative that you speak with an attorney BEFORE speaking with anyone else.  This includes absolutely any person, including family members, friends, patients, co-workers, and anyone else.  Even if you believe other people will keep your information confidential, there can be no guarantee of this.  An attorney has a duty to keep what you say confidential as attorney-client communication.  You can be rest assured that a qualified professional license defense attorney will not disclose your private information.

What Happens After I Speak With an Attorney?

What occurs after you seek legal counsel is different for every person, as each person’s situation carries with it unique facts.  Your attorney may determine that there is very little evidence that you committed any wrongdoing, and therefore your professional license is unlikely to be taken away from you.  However, if your attorney is concerned that there is some evidence that could lead a disciplinary board to consider taking your professional license away, your attorney will begin to prepare a defense on your behalf and advocate for you as to why you should not lose your professional license.

What About the Cost of Retaining an Attorney?

Retaining legal counsel often brings a cost as an attorney must be compensated to provide the best legal representation possible.  However, a skilled and ethical attorney will provide outstanding legal services at a reasonable cost.  Remember, it is more important to retain your professional license than to suffer the consequences of possibly never being able to work as a physician, attorney, veterinarian, physical therapist, or any other profession requiring a license in Kansas or Missouri.  The sooner you seek legal counsel, the better, and during this time of representation, worrying about the cost of representation should not be your biggest concern.

The Sanger Law Office Provides You With a Free Consultation to Discuss Your Case

If you are facing disciplinary action from your governing professional licensing board, and you believe your professional license may be at risk, you need to speak with experienced legal counsel as soon as possible.  At the Sanger Law Office, Danielle Sanger, with her experience as both a prosecutor and professional license defense attorney, will evaluate all facts of your case and provide you with an honest opinion as to how you should go forward.  This advice is offered during an initial free consultation.  It may turn out that the likelihood that you will face disciplinary action or lose your license is low, but you will not know this until you speak with an attorney.  To schedule your free consultation with Danielle Sanger at the Sanger Law Office, contact us today by calling 785-979-4353, or you may contact us online and we will call you right away.