Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Addiction a serious problem amongst doctors

Pharmaceutical abuse and the use of illegal narcotics is not uncommon in Pennsylvania or anywhere else, and people in responsible positions, such as doctors, can also fall prey to addiction. However, the trust invested in them means that such professionals have the potential to do terrible harm through medication errors and other drug-induced misjudgments.

Recent reports from the United States government indicate that there are currently more than 100,000 doctors, or about 10 percent, addicted to some kind of drug or substance. One of the doctors who used to use Vicodin while treating patients points to the easy access to narcotics and other prescription drugs as why there are so many medical professionals with substance abuse problems.

That doctor has not used narcotics for a decade, but he says that he once took 100 Vicodin pills a day. While some believe that they could tell if their medical provider was intoxicated, this doctor says that his patients could never tell that he was using. He wants other doctors to do what he is now doing, which is admitting to his past mistakes. He is ready to pay the price if any patient comes forward and claims that he harmed them while under the influence.

A patient who has reason to believe that a doctor who was under the influence of intoxicants has harmed them may choose to seek legal recourse through a civil suit. Sometimes they only become aware of the doctor's problem quite a while after their interaction. For example, the medical professional in question may be revealed to have a long-standing substance abuse problem that predated and continued through the time of their treatment. This may provide the grounds for them to seek compensation for the harm that they might have suffered at the time.

Source: Today, "Is your doctor stoned? Physicians with substance abuse problems continue to work", Jeff Rossen and Charlie McLravy, June 16, 2014

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
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