Thousands Of Doctors Secretly In Rehab While Practicing

  1. http://www.ksdk.com/news/health/heal...storyid=137040

    "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 keep their addictions hidden from their patients."
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  2. 38 Comments

  3. by   TheCommuter
    This doesn't surprise or shock me in any manner. Doctors are regular people who experience even more stressors than most other people in society. When I was a factory worker, my job was done after 12 hours, and I never had to take the work home with me. Physicians, on the other hand, must deal with the burden of having 24-hour-a-day liability for every single patient under their care. I'm sure this pressure and stress leads some of them to "self-medicate" with alcohol and controlled substances.
  4. by   nightfall2099
    Quote from TheCommuter
    This doesn't surprise or shock me in any manner. Doctors are regular people who experience even more stressors than most other people in society. When I was a factory worker, my job was done after 12 hours, and I never had to take the work home with me. Physicians, on the other hand, must deal with the burden of having 24-hour-a-day liability for every single patient under their care. I'm sure this pressure and stress leads some of them to "self-medicate" with alcohol and controlled substances.


    I agree. Healthcare professionals need help too. What I'm really amazed is how more "controlled " we are. Maybe it's our years of training. I'm surprised in these days of people going "postal", we have managed to hold the fort.
  5. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from nightfall2099
    I agree. Healthcare professionals need help too. What I'm really amazed is how more "controlled " we are. Maybe it's our years of training. I'm surprised in these days of people going "postal", we have managed to hold the fort.
    Yes. The addicted doctor or impaired nurse is often able to adroitly and succinctly fool patients, visitors, and society at large into thinking that no substance abuse issues exist with them, but they cannot fool each other (other doctors and nurses).
  6. by   TeleNurse2010
    I don't know how to feel about this. It is very scary to think that a doctor, or nurse for that matter, could take care of patients while intoxicated. I want those addicted to get help, but I don't necessarily agree with them being able to continue to practice while their undergoing the program. Perhaps when they have completed it successfully they could start to practice again. I don't know, as I've never dealt with addiction before. I understand that doctors have a lot of stress, but it is still scary to know that some are practicing under the influence.
  7. by   CaLLaCoDe
    I am not surprised by this fact.

    A personal note. My deceased uncle, a psychiatrist, lost his leg when he was in his thirties. My mother, who is also a nurse, always gave me the excuse of his having spent too many hours sitting while driving a truck. Later I found out the truth; that he was addicted to opiates and stimulants and that he would use his femerol vein to shoot up for a fix. He lost his limb due to his addiction. And later his life from kidney failure. Sad. He was brilliant in his field. He'd had lived longer had it not been for this.

    We do have a doctor that will make rounds in the evening drunk, no kidding. I can always tell when, for his manner of speaking is less sophisticated as though he were addressing a class of fourth graders or something. I am amazed that he still practices medicine. Truth is I find him to be one of the better docs and would not report him. Enabler as you may accuse me of being, but I haven't the heart to report him. I will be leaving soon...and I will before leaving confront him in private. ;-)
    Last edit by CaLLaCoDe on Dec 19, '07
  8. by   TeleNurse2010
    Quote from TheCommuter
    Yes. The addicted doctor or impaired nurse is often able to adroitly and succinctly fool patients, visitors, and society at large into thinking that no substance abuse issues exist with them, but they cannot fool each other (other doctors and nurses).
    Well, if these doctors and nurses cannot fool each other, then are the other doctors and nurses looking out for the patients that the impaired professionals are in charge of??
  9. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from rhollins
    Well, if these doctors and nurses cannot fool each other, then are the other doctors and nurses looking out for the patients that the impaired professionals are in charge of??
    This is self-explanatory, at least for the nurses who are reported to their local BONs for having illicit substances in their systems. A former coworker of mine had her RN licensure revoked for this issue about three months ago. Prior to the revocation of her license, she was ordered by the BON to participate in a treatment program for nurses. Some person out there must have brought her problem to the attention of the BON.

    I cannot speak for doctors. However, somebody has to be reporting impaired nurses to the BON, because many nurses are disciplined or lose their licenses as the result of addiction. Typically, a nurse manager is the one who looks out for the patients by reporting the impaired nurse.
  10. by   OC_An Khe
    This is a difficult and complex problem that unfortuneately has no good answer. If you take a completely punitive approach then the professionals that are ill with addiction will just try and hide the fact and potentially do more harm. On the other hand they should not have unlimted rehab stints either.
    But confidentnial rehab does work and in the long run will protect more patients. Now each state is different when it comes to rehab and confidentiality while some protect MDs and Nurses with confidentiality a lot protect only MDs and not the RNs confidentiality. Maybe your first rehab should be confidential but after that it should become public knowledge if you need subsequent rehabs.
  11. by   sharona97
    Quote from ocankhe
    This is a difficult and complex problem that unfortuneately has no good answer. If you take a completely punitive approach then the professionals that are ill with addiction will just try and hide the fact and potentially do more harm. On the other hand they should not have unlimted rehab stints either.
    But confidentnial rehab does work and in the long run will protect more patients. Now each state is different when it comes to rehab and confidentiality while some protect MDs and Nurses with confidentiality a lot protect only MDs and not the RNs confidentiality. Maybe your first rehab should be confidential but after that it should become public knowledge if you need subsequent rehabs.
    In 1987 I had to perform ua drug test on a Dr. who finished treatment, but for compliance sake had to continue the ua checks. My first encounter was ackward, but found him to be a very nice man and he stayed clean! His drug of choice was cocaine and he offerred his experience to me freely and regretful of his actions.

    I believe it's important to support those who want and need the help for addictions.
  12. by   Dinith88
    Quote from TheCommuter
    adroitly and succinctly .

    my vocabulary suddenly seems inadequate...
  13. by   Katnip
    I agree, doctors and nurses should get a chance to get themselves together. But if someone is non-compliant and fail at staying clean, then more punitive action should be taken. The article mentioned a doctor who failed at rehab six time.

    They should get a chance, but the number of chances should be limited.
  14. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from Dinith88
    my vocabulary suddenly seems inadequate...
    I can't help it...I wanted to be a mystery novelist during my early and middle childhood years, but life swept me in a different direction. Now I'm a lowly LVN.

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