As a physician, it is your duty to be completely attentive to every patient under your care. This is why having a substance abuse issue is a serious accusation; one that may just cost you your medical license. Continue reading to learn what happens if you are accused of substance abuse and how one of the experienced New York physician defense lawyers at Walker Medical Law can help you fight back on this claim.
As a physician, under what circumstances might I be accused of substance abuse?
First, your patient may pick up on certain signs and symptoms of substance abuse that may prompt their accusation against you. Examples of such signs and symptoms are as follows:
- Your patient may notice that you consistently appear to appointments smelling of alcohol or with visible needle marks.
- Your patient may notice that you are consistently late to appointments or miss appointments altogether.
- Your patient may notice that you are consistently making incorrect charts or writing incorrect prescriptions.
- Your patient may notice that you are consistently making careless medical decisions.
- Your patient may notice that you are entering a significant increase in conflicts with your colleagues.
- Your patient may notice that you are exhibiting a significant increase in irritability and aggression.
- Your patient may notice that you are exhibiting a significant decrease in your quality of care.
It is worth mentioning that, even though your patient may be incorrect about you having a substance abuse issue, any of the aforementioned behaviors are discouraged for a physician like yourself.
What happens if I am accused of substance abuse?
We understand that a patient’s assumption of your substance abuse issue may be unwarranted. Moreover, we understand that the signs and symptoms they supposedly picked up on were also a complete misunderstanding. Even so, you cannot stop a patient from reporting you to the New York State Department of Health’s Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC) or Office of Professional Discipline (OPD).
With this, the OPMC and OPD may run an investigation against you. And if you do not adequately defend yourself at your hearing in front of the OPMC or OPD board, then you may just get your medical license revoked altogether. This may be in addition to penalties such as fines of up to $10,000 and community service of up to 500 hours.
Your medical license may only be temporarily suspended or limited to a specified area of practice, if you are fortunate enough. However, the details of your OPMC or OPD hearing may become public records. This may make it all the more difficult to practice again as a physician.
For these reasons alone, you must consult with one of the skilled New York physician defense lawyers immediately. Our team at Walker Medical Law is happy to advise you.