A successful surgeon needs steady hands and good judgment, two things not commonly associated with doctors who have drug and alcohol problems. That makes the results of a recent medical study particularly unsettling for patients across the nation. According to University of Washington researchers, 15 percent of surgeons abuse alcohol or have dependency issues.
The study scrutinized the survey answers of 7,200 surgeons and uncovered many alcohol or drug problems through a series of questions about the participants’ work, mood and lifestyle choices. Surgeons with drinking problems were 45 percent more likely to report making a major medical error in the past three months when compared to colleagues showing no signs of alcohol or drug dependency.
Given the potentially fatal nature of surgery errors, patients are not eager to chance their success and survival upon the abilities of someone with substance-abuse problems. If a surgeon cannot find safe and effective ways to combat the stress and challenges of his job, he needs to find a different line of work – no patient deserves to face unnecessary risks.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a negligent surgeon, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney to discuss your rights to recovering damages.
Source: Reuters, “Alcohol problems not uncommon among surgeons: study,” Feb. 22, 2012