Saturday, September 20, 2008

Laguna Beach ER doc with DUIs loses medical license

When I first read the headline in this morning's O.C. Register, I figured some doc took his drunken bad self out of the ER after sewing some guy’s nose to his navel and got popped for drunk driving. But that doesn’t appear to be the case at all. Nowhere does the article give any indication that the doc’s drinking was a problem at work.

But what’s worse is that he surrendered his license because the medical board has the power to discipline doctors for unprofessional conduct, including dangerous use of alcohol. WTF? Geez, it was just a few short months ago that I read about all the substance abuse programs that the hospitals sponsor for practicing physicians. These are the guys who show up for surgery smelling like the bottom of a bottle of Jack Daniels or who raid the drug cabinets. They’ve been caught botching surgeries, maiming and killing patients and none of them lost their licenses.

So given the reality that the medical board allows drunks and drug abusers to keep their jobs – which does scare the crap out of me – how can they justify taking this guy’s license for something he did off the clock? I mean what, exactly, does the medical board define as “unprofessional conduct,” and how invasive is it?

And how does this infraction (albeit heinous and achingly stupid) equate losing one’s ability to practice medicine? It doesn’t add up. It’s like the bank taking away my house because I killed all the spiders I could find. The act doesn’t equal the response. If the guy was caught driving drunk twice, throw his ass in jail.

I’m not a fan of the alcoholic – especially if his hands are rummaging around my body parts. I expect nothing but their best. What they do when they’re off the clock is none of my business, provided it doesn’t interfere with their ability to take good care of me. Totally confused, and I hope someone can help me understand the medical board’s wisdom. For now, it eludes me.

No comments: