Doctor Drug Abuse Can Lead To Medical Malpractice Claims

When a doctor or care provider offers substandard care, the consequences can be serious for patients.  Patients could die from the doctor errors, or could face a worse prognosis due to medical mistakes than if they had received proper treatment.

Medical negligence can occur for many different reasons.  In some cases, however, the mistakes happen because the doctor has a substance abuse problem. When this is the case, the victims of malpractice can point to the doctor’s drug abuse as the cause of their damages. Medical malpractice cases where the doctor was intoxicated at the time of treatment are often successful cases for the plaintiff because doctors are not supposed to be impaired while treating patients.

Every case is different, and it can sometimes be hard to prove that a doctor’s drug abuse was the cause of a medical mistake. Contact a Charleston, SC medical malpractice lawyer for help proving that you or a loved one was hurt.

How Big of a Problem is Doctor Drug Abuse?

Doctor drug abuse may be a bigger problem than patients care to think about. According to Medscape, a survey of 1900 doctors in 2010 revealed that around 17 percent of physicians had direct personal knowledge of a doctor in their peer group who was impaired or incompetent. The study asked respondents to consider whether they had encountered an impaired doctor over the past three years.

Of the doctors who thought they knew a peer had a drug problem,  around one third did not report their concerns. Around 19 percent did not speak up because they believed it was likely someone else was already addressing the issue. A total of 15 percent did not report their suspicions of impairment because they thought reporting would not make a difference.  Ten percent of the doctors surveyed said they did not think it was their responsibility to report when they suspected impairment, and another nine percent didn’t want to report because they feared their peer could face excessive punishment.  Twelve percent stayed quiet because of a fear of retaliation.

While doctors are not more likely than the general public to have a substance abuse problem, they are more likely to misuse prescription drugs. This is likely because of the easy access to prescription medications.  According to Psych Central, doctor drug abuse is often not caught until a mistake has already been made. The substance abuse is frequently identified during the course of an investigation for medical negligence. This means that when a doctor abuses drugs, he may not stop until someone gets hurt.

Patients who are victims of malpractice should get help from an experienced attorney investigating the actions that their doctor took. If you suspect you were harmed by substandard care, a Charleston medical malpractice lawyer can obtain your records and manage an investigation that could reveal substance abuse or other problems that led to your injuries. Taking action for malpractice could not only make it possible for you to obtain compensation but could also help to save someone else’s life by stopping a doctor from continuing to practice medicine while impaired.

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