Thousands Of Doctors Secretly In Rehab While Practicing - page 3

"Troubling cases in which doctors were accused of botching operations while undergoing treatment for drugs or alcohol have led to criticism of rehab programs that allow thousands U.S. physicians to... Read More

  1. by   nurseboudin
    I am an alcoholic nurse. In recovery of course. Understanding the disease of addiction is difficult. Doctors and nurses are held to a higher standard than the rest of society because our chosen professions demand ACCOUNTABILITY. This is as it should be.

    There is no cure. It's a lot like diabetes. It requires continual strict maintenance or else we lose a little a time or a lot all at once. Diseases run different courses in different individuals.

    Being accountable means owning up to it, and being actively engaged in recovery for the rest of your life. Addicts and alcoholics don't handle stress like the "normies" do. That's why we are the way we are. Because we can't handle anything without having "that certain something" to gain our comfort. Life is uncomfortable for us. We have to learn how to live in it even if that means being uncomfortable.

    In my opinion, patients don't need to know that I'm an alcoholic in recovery. It's none of their business. BUT if I am engaged and participating in my addiction, I would expect any nurse who fully practices the standards of our profession to turn my drunk keester in to the BON. We are patient advocates. We do what's best for the patient, NOT THE NURSE.

    Unfortunately denial is part of this disease - so many of us have to make a huge disaster out of our lives before we can even admit it. Denial is the anchor that gets us to our rock bottom state. We all need to get there before we can see how pathetic and miserable we really are. It's sad, but true.
  2. by   rnmomtobe2010
    My ob doctor was young and so pretty. I could talk to her about anything. I was scheduled for a c-section Feb.28th and she informed me that her associate was going to be performing the surgery. I later found out that she was going to a rehab facility in Florida. The shock and hurt when I found out. I would not have ever thought in a million yrs. that she was an alcoholic!! Still hurts today. She had become sort of a mentor and helped me through the most difficult time of my life!!!
  3. by   nurseboudin
    That's so self-important.
  4. by   rph3664
    Quote from lindarn
    Where I worked here in Spokane, we had a nurse who was suspected for a while of diverting narcotics. They placed a hidden camera in the medication room, and security monitored it. One night they finally caught her. The supervisor confronted her, and had called in the NM, Director of Nursing, called the police, who handcuffed her in front of everyone, staff, patients, family, and hauled her off to jail.

    A couple of years before this, a male nurse was also suspected of diverting narcotics. When they caught him, if was a whole other story. He was allowed to go to a program, but remained on the job. He was just not allowed to carry the narcotic keys, or administer any controlled substances, and because they "wanted to protect his privacy", they decided that he would not float anywhere for a year, so he wouldn' have to reveal that he was in a drug program with the BON. What a difference gender makes!

    Lindarn, RN ,BSN, CCRN
    Spokane, Washington
    Do you believe it was a gender thing? Do you know the whole story in both cases?

    Maybe the female nurse had been caught many times before and/or had no desire to quit, and this was the male nurse's first known offense, and he wanted to get clean.

    JMHO.

    I just remembered that a pharmacist I once worked with, a few years ago, stole a 222 (the DEA form used for ordering C-II drugs and Brevital), ordered a huge quantity of pharmaceutical cocaine, and set up a crack lab in his house. His neighbors turned him in even before the 222 problem was caught because of all the seedy characters hanging around his house, and he was sent to prison.

    The story gets weirder. He's over 60 years old.

    When I was in school, I heard about a pharmacist in a small city in my region about whom it was common knowledge that she had gone to pharmacy school so she would have ready access to drugs. (I can think of easier ways to do it, but anyway......) She had a, ahem, very interesting boyfriend (VIB). One night, the pharmacy where she worked was broken into and all the controlled substances were stolen; it was done in such a way that authorities knew it was an inside job, but she and VIB denied any involvement and no evidence could be found that linked them to it.

    What got her caught was that she took some expired C-IIs home with her, for her own personal use, and took the records with her as well. When the noose tightened, she tore up the records AND FLUSHED THEM DOWN THE TOILET!

    Of course, her toilet backed up, and the plumber found the records 99% intact when he retrieved them from the pipes in her house. Plumbers see this kind of thing more than people think.

    I mean, why would you keep things like that laying around in your house, and FLUSH them instead of burning them? Guess it's really obvious that I'm not an addict.

    p.s. I have a friend who once worked in substance abuse treatment. She said that a lot of people who stop using substances will develop some other compulsive behavior: religious fanaticism, hypersexuality, gambling (more common in men), eating disorders (more common in women), and so forth.

    p.p.s. When I was in pre-pharmacy and much younger and dumber, I had a VIB of my own who once asked me, "If we're still together when you graduate, can you get drugs for me?" My response was, "Are you $%^& kidding?" He didn't understand why I, a non-user, wanted to be a pharmacist! weird.
  5. by   longhornfan1
    I am also a "recovering" nurse. Texas has a Peer Asst. Program and I am on my last 5 months of a very long, stressful, demeaning, expensive, but necessary 2 year agreement with them. Started it after being screened for cause and was reported by the employer to TPAPN (Tx Peer Asst Prog 4 Nurses) and signed up for the program to prevent my nursing record from being damaged. At that time, the employer could simply report to TPAPN and let it go, since they passed the new bill, all employers must report to BON first and then the BON will refer to TPAPN for review. So, it will be on your record until you complete the program then it is just a tiny paragraph stating completion and wont be accessible by anyone else except the BON in case you get busted twice then it is bye bye from nursing. Have had ups and downs with them but was allowed to keep my LVN, get my RN and working towards my MSN. Found that mine was not a selfish addiction, but a "need to be perfect" drive that got me where I am now. Not sure if "addiction" is the right word, but will do and say what they tell me for another 5 months and then will decide. Good luck and keep an open mind. Not all of us started as Heroine users on the corner. My first taste was post op and could not get off the Vic's. Just like with DM the food is a choice too.
  6. by   sharona97
    Quote from Logos
    Do you guys really care if your doctor smokes pot or drinks alcohol while he or she is off duty?
    I do not. As long as he or she arrives to work clean and sober- why would anyone take his or her medical license for something that was done while NOT treating patients. If they get a DUI they should receive the same treatment as everyone else- not above and beyond. I guess I don't see why we expect Doctor's to be held to a higher code of whatever than the average Joe. Get a fine, do 30 days, whatever- but if it was not done while treating patients than leave the medical license out of it. I guess I just think that not everyone physician who uses recreational drugs such as alcohol and pot is an addict. I think that the term "recreational" for some people may in fact be just that.
    Now don't everyone jump to the conclusion that I use recreational drugs- I don't- but other people who do do not strike terror in my heart. Now come to work or get behind the wheel drunk and I would fry your ass- but at home on your own time- feel free-it's your life.
    Great, so the doc had a few days off, much needed I'm sure and went on a two day bender, drunk, coke ,whatever,crack,whatever. Then shows up to work in a sober "HUNG OVER" state of mind and is tired, not sharp but it's ok to have your family member treated or seen for a diagnosis, NOT MINE!:trout:
    Last edit by sharona97 on Dec 23, '07 : Reason: me
  7. by   PLTSGT
    Quote from rph3664
    Do you believe it was a gender thing? Do you know the whole story in both cases?

    Maybe the female nurse had been caught many times before and/or had no desire to quit, and this was the male nurse's first known offense, and he wanted to get clean.

    JMHO.

    That's true. One cannot judge that incident and coincidence based on gender alone.

    RPH, I like that story about that pharmacist ordering pharmaceutical coke and building up a homemade lab. Wow! Classic Hollywood quality.
  8. by   PLTSGT
    Quote from nurseboudin
    I am an alcoholic nurse. In recovery of course. Understanding the disease of addiction is difficult. Doctors and nurses are held to a higher standard than the rest of society because our chosen professions demand ACCOUNTABILITY. This is as it should be.

    There is no cure. It's a lot like diabetes. It requires continual strict maintenance or else we lose a little a time or a lot all at once. Diseases run different courses in different individuals.

    Being accountable means owning up to it, and being actively engaged in recovery for the rest of your life. Addicts and alcoholics don't handle stress like the "normies" do. That's why we are the way we are. Because we can't handle anything without having "that certain something" to gain our comfort. Life is uncomfortable for us. We have to learn how to live in it even if that means being uncomfortable.

    In my opinion, patients don't need to know that I'm an alcoholic in recovery. It's none of their business. BUT if I am engaged and participating in my addiction, I would expect any nurse who fully practices the standards of our profession to turn my drunk keester in to the BON. We are patient advocates. We do what's best for the patient, NOT THE NURSE.

    Unfortunately denial is part of this disease - so many of us have to make a huge disaster out of our lives before we can even admit it. Denial is the anchor that gets us to our rock bottom state. We all need to get there before we can see how pathetic and miserable we really are. It's sad, but true.
    Calling addiction as a disease is still debatable. Most of the people "working the program" sees addiction as a perpetual disease and that is another addiction by itself. Others look at addiction as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Like I said it's moot.

    BTW, some nurses who are in the monitoring program will pretend that they are zelous followers of Bill W. just so they won't get ostracized by others who are esurient 12 steppers and in turn losing their license. That's just one of the problems of most if not all, BON: 12 steps or nothing.
  9. by   rph3664
    Quote from PLTSGT
    RPH, I like that story about that pharmacist ordering pharmaceutical coke and building up a homemade lab. Wow! Classic Hollywood quality.
    Yeah, well, when he got arrested, his ex-wife had to get a second job because she was no longer receiving child support.

    Most people who knew him, when they heard he had been married, assumed he had married a third world mail order bride but no, he had married a bank vice president who had gotten into her 30s and was THAT desperate to have a baby, she didn't care where, how, or from whom she got one. Two, actually, before she wised up and left his selfish a$$. Oh, sure, she could have adopted or gone to a sperm bank but she didn't want to pay for it all herself - but ended up doing so anyway.

    They had always had to pay all their household expenses from her income because he spent all the money he made on himself, and he would brag about how he had never once changed a diaper or gotten up with his kids at night. (My response? "And I suppose you want people to feel sorry for you because you have to pay child support." Shut him up really fast!) He sued for custody so he wouldn't have to pay child support, and the lawyer basically laughed him out of the office because, among other things, he didn't even know his kids' birthdays or what schools they attended.

    He had been in the military, and someone who was in his unit had said that even prostitutes wouldn't go near him. THAT is saying something!
  10. by   woody62
    To the nurse who implied we should not be concerned if our physician uses drugs during his own time off. Bull hockey. My neurosurgeon lost his license after he was caught driving under the influence of alcohol. And he made it worse by snorting coke. He was all ways sober when ever I took a client to see him. And he was not under the influence when he performed all four of my surgeries. But had I known about his off duty drinking, he wouldn't have been my surgeon. When I stated that he was all ways sober, he all ways appeared sober but he might not have been.

    Woody
  11. by   TiredMD
    Quote from PLTSGT
    I believe you. There are things that are happening out there even though society thinks that healthcare professionals are up on the pedestal. One thing for sure though, if a peer is out to get someone, he or she will stir things up just to get that using person in trouble regardless if the user uses drugs away from work and does not affect the job.
    Because of the nature of physician's work, we must be held to a far higher standard than other health care professionals. Our responsibility to patients extends well beyond normal business hours, and any indication of a substance abuse problem (ie - getting a DUI) warrants immediate investigation and intervention by the board. Our work never ends, and everything we do affects the job.
  12. by   woody62
    Quote from TiredMD
    Because of the nature of physician's work, we must be held to a far higher standard than other health care professionals. Our responsibility to patients extends well beyond normal business hours, and any indication of a substance abuse problem (ie - getting a DUI) warrants immediate investigation and intervention by the board. Our work never ends, and everything we do affects the job.
    You are correct doctor, you are held to a higher standard. But because you are physicians, you are frequently given repeated passes by your peers. Few doctors are willing to confront a peer about his drinking or drugging. And unlike nurses, you are not held under the same microscope that we are. And what makes you think that you are held to a standard of being responsible all the time and nurses are not. We are held to a high standard. But unlike you, by the late 80's, we accepted that our profession had a problem. And we addressed it. DON's no longer quietly fired impaired nurses. And unlike yourselves, we do not have access to prescription pads, on which to write legal prescriptions. We have to steal our drugs from our employers and our patients, if we are addicted to prescription medications. If not and we are addicted to street drugs, then we have a better chances at hiding our addiction, until it plays a role in our patient's care.

    Please doctor, you and your peers get passes until you become so bad that your malpractice insurance rises to an area even you can no longer afford. And your addictions impact so much on your patients, that someone finally takes notice. I have never stolden from my patients. And I have never drank to the point I was no longer responsible but I do know physicians who have, who have gotten free passes from their peers.

    Woody
  13. by   woody62
    In fact doctor, I know a physician, who I turned into the Florida Department of Professional Regulation for prescribing drugs, turning some of her and my clients into addicts. I went so far as to prepare to testify at a hearing stripping her of her license. The day before the hearing, I received a telephone call from the state attorney telling me I would not have to appear. The hearing was off. She had worked out a plea dealing. She went to work for the Florida Correctional System and surrendered her DEA number for three years, the length of her contract with the Correctional Department. Funny thing, as a physician in part of that system, they very infrequently prescribe narcotics. So she really didn't suffer, did she? Am I angry? Yes, you can bet your sweet bibbie I am. She destroyed several peoples lives with her over prescribing. And she never paid the price. Thanks to her smart attorney and her peers.

    So please do not ask me to feel sorry for your peers. They get a way with a great deal. Your peers are too afraid to call them. And your state BOM's are too afraid to discipline them.

    Woody

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