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Doctor Intoxication and Medical Malpractice

Given their medical knowledge regarding the effects of drug and alcohol intoxication, it is rather shocking to discover that some doctors take the risk of treating patients while under the influence. Medical mistakes due to doctor intoxication can run the gamut from missed diagnoses, to incorrect prescriptions, to poorly performed procedures that cause short and long-term harm. It is important to understand this issue, and to get the help of a qualified attorney if you believe you or a loved one suffered due to an impaired physician.

The Extent of the Problem

It is estimated that up to 15 percent of surgeons have an alcohol abuse problem due to the stress of their jobs and the long hours they work. Unfortunately, some physicians use the time they do have off to let loose and get high or drunk. This then translates into continued alcohol and/or drug use leading to medical errors, with more than 50 percent of those who admitted to having a problem also admitting to making major mistakes when caring for patients.

In January 2016, the Maryland Board of Physicians took away the license of a doctor based on reports of habitual intoxication, wrong prescription writing and other potentially dangerous behaviors. In another case, a doctor reported that a colleague performed an emergency appendectomy while reeking of alcohol, a situation that had the potential to cause great harm or death. Unfortunately, doctors are not active enough in reporting their colleagues, and state requirements for testing of physicians does not match the enormity of the problem.

What Should You Do?

If you or your loved one's doctor committed a medical error and you believe it was due to alcohol or drug use, contact a reputable attorney immediately. It may be too late for toxicology reports or blood tests to back up your claims, so it is important that experienced investigators start talking to witnesses right away. A law firm with a background in medical malpractice knows which questions to ask, and how to navigate the complex medical and legal systems on your behalf.

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Law Offices of Raymond J. Slomski, P.C.

2929 North Central Avenue Suite 700 Phoenix, AZ 85012 Phone: 602-635-7603 Fax: 602-230-8707 Phoenix Law Office Map