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.


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