The medical profession is notoriously stressful, especially for physicians and other high-level employees. Unfortunately, many self-medicate in hopes of managing the constant barrage of anxiety. This leaves both medical professionals and the patients they’re charged with protecting at risk. Below, we shed light on the scourge of drugs and alcohol in the health care industry:
Prevalence of Abuse
Abuse is shockingly common among doctors; in a notable study published in the American Journal on Addictions, 15.3 percent of surveyed physicians met diagnostic criteria for alcohol dependency. Likewise, research indicates that benzodiazepine and opiate abuse rates are higher among doctors than in the general population. Abuse can be particularly prevalent in certain niches and demographics; a study involving 25,073 surgeons revealed a shocking 25.6 percent alcohol abuse rate among female surgeons.
The tragic effects of substance abuse extend far beyond the health care workers who suffer dependency; multiple studies indicate that those who abuse drugs or alcohol are more likely to commit major medical errors than their sober counterparts.
Failure to Report
According to the American Medical Association Code of Ethics, doctors are required not only to keep themselves in pristine health, but also to alert appropriate authorities if they witness colleagues dealing with drug or alcohol dependency. Many do not follow this standard; 36 percent of those surveyed in a national poll admitted to not acting after receiving firsthand information about a fellow professional’s struggles with substance abuse. Often, health care professionals are reluctant to speak up if they lack direct proof of their colleagues’ behavior. Unfortunately, it is therefore up to patients to be on alert for signs of abuse.
If medical negligence has caused you undue suffering, you may be eligible for recourse. Contact Regan Zambri Long PLLC today to learn how we can assist you with your medical malpractice case.