Doctors And Nurses Under the Influence of Drugs and Alcohol: Part 1

It’s no secret that rates of drug and alcohol abuse are alarmingly high among doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. But while we typically think of health care workers as indulging in harmful coping mechanisms exclusively at home, these substances appear to have an increased presence in the workplace. Read on to discover just how prevalent substance abuse is in health care settings:

Drug And Alcohol Issues Are Shockingly Common

The stressful nature of health care work drives many professionals to seek solace in drugs or alcohol. Hence, the concerning results of a University of Washington study, which revealed that 14 percent of male and 26 percent of female surgeons abuse alcohol. Similarly, a study published in the Medical Student Research Journal indicates that health care workers are more likely to abuse prescription drugs than the general population. Experts believe that substance abuse is dramatically underreported in the field of health care, so the true extent of drug or alcohol use on the job may be even more widespread than research suggests.

Drug Use at Work

If there’s a silver lining in these alarming numbers, it’s that most impaired professionals indulge at home — and that their impairment doesn’t appear to have a significant impact on job performance. When substances enter the workplace, however, all bets are off.

While limited research exists regarding on-the-job impairment, anecdotal evidence suggests that this problem is alive and well in today’s medical facilities. For example, a formal complaint filed by the Medical Board of California accused a doctor of passing out at his medical office after reaching a blood alcohol concentration of 0.39. In other cases, drunk doctors have been accused of falling asleep mid-conversation or even writing lewd notes on medical records. Clearly, this issue needs to be addressed.

If you have suffered at the hands of a negligent doctor or nurse, look to Regan Zambri Long PLLC for support. Reach out today to learn more about our medical malpractice services.