Your doctor is the person that you go to when there are no options left to you and you know that you cannot take care of yourself. You trust your doctor to help you to improve your health. When that trust is broken, it naturally causes some worry. Even worse is when your doctor knowingly puts you at risk by his or her outside actions. A recent study has shown that nearly 103,000 medical professionals either abuse or are dependent on illicit drugs each year. Consider that for a moment - if one of those 103,000 doctors is one of yours, your doctor may be on illicit drugs when he or she treats you. It’s a scary thought.
How are Medical Professionals Getting Away with This?
One of the biggest problems in the health care industry is that there is no statewide or nationwide standard for drug testing. While most companies in the food industry and the retail industry subject their employees to random drug testing, those who are responsible for the safety and wellbeing of hundreds of people are not required to undergo the same testing. It is very possible that a doctor or nurse could miss an important step in the diagnostic process if he or she is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Moreover, many health care centers lack the proper technology to track the movement of narcotics and barbiturates in and out of the medical center, which makes it easy for doctors with drug dependencies to get a hold of their vices. The bigger problem is that the doctors who are caught using illicit drugs or committing medical malpractice as a result rarely have their licenses stripped away or suffer any consequences from state and federal medical boards. Many continue to practice outside of hospitals that have banned them since boards tend to be lax in handing out consequences.
What Can be Done About Drug Related Medical Malpractice?
California is trying to do just about the only thing that can be done - vote for stricter rules for doctors. Proposition 46 will be voted on by California citizens next month to give them a chance to raise the medical malpractice damage cap as well as to require mandatory drug testing for medical professionals. Hopefully they will set a precedent for the rest of the country. As a Maryland resident, what you can do is encourage any friends or family in California to vote FOR Prop 46 and to make sure that you help Maryland institute the same rule when it shows up on a Maryland ballot.