How Can Alcohol Addiction Affect My Medical Practice?

Medical professionals are people. Just like anyone else, they are not perfect and face problems in their lives. This can include an addiction to alcohol. When a medical professional has alcohol addiction, it can make it difficult for them to take care of themselves, let alone others. While these problems are nothing to be ashamed of, it is important that they are taken care of before they can impact the life of a medical professional or patients. This is because, in the event that a professional’s alcoholism harms another party, it can result in life-changing consequences. 

Is My Job at Risk Because of Alcoholism?

While it can be difficult to hear, medical professionals who are suffering from alcohol addiction can be at risk of losing their job. This is the case even if they do not see the addiction as a threat to their performance ability. In the event that a patient or peer believes a medical professional has a substance abuse problem, they can register a complaint with the Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC). When this happens, it can result in an investigation being launched into the individual’s career. If they are believed to be impaired due to their addiction, the OPMC may feel as if they are unable to continue treating patients. In addition to this, if a patient believes their physician abuses alcohol, they may wish to bring a lawsuit against them. 

Consequences by the OPMC

When a medical professional is facing the OPMC due to their alcohol addiction, it is important to know that it is possible for them to lose their medical license if they are believed to be a threat to patients. In addition to the harm this has on an individual’s reputation and career, the OPMC can impose certain consequences should the addiction threaten the lives of others. For example, medical professionals who are charged with a DWI can face harsh penalties due to their actions. The most common punishment in these circumstances is a censure and reprimand. However, it is possible to be subject to a fine, substance abuse therapy, increased liability insurance, and more. 

How Can I Protect Myself?

Fortunately, medical professionals who recognize they have an alcohol addiction and wish to seek help can avoid these consequences. Once the problem is known, it is important for the individual to go to the Committee on Physicians Health as soon as possible. This is because, under the New York State Medical Board, the Committee can help the professional to enter a program for rehabilitation. If the OPMC sees that an effort is being made to address the issue, there is a good chance they will not revoke a medical license permanently. 

Contact our Firm

When a medical professional is accused of misconduct, it is essential that they retain strong legal representation. If you require a medical law attorney for your legal matters, call Paul E. Walker, an experienced New York City OPMC & OPD Lawyer. Please contact the Walker Medical Law firm to set up a free initial consultation.