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Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Drug/Alcohol Addiction - HELP!

 capricorn - Thu Sep 16, 2004 1:34 am

Help - I know a doctor that needs help. I know she has an alcohol dependency, perhaps an RX dependency as well. Is there help specifically tailored for doctors? Please help - I care about her too much to see her do this to her and her family.

 Dr. Russell M - Sat Sep 18, 2004 8:14 pm

User avatar Hi!

How about contacting the local AA [Alcoholics Anonymous], the organization that helps alcoholics and their supports?

 Carolyn Merritt, LPN - Sun Sep 19, 2004 10:28 am

User avatar You said: "I care about her too much to see her do this to her and herfamily. " Well, what about the people she treats? Medical Professionals
have the ability to do much good or to do much harm. An impaired doctor is a danger not only to herself, her family but also to all those she treats. For example, when I was giving birth to my second child my ob/gyn showed up drunk. No one in the delivery room said anything or tried to stop him from delivering my baby. Because of his roughness under the influence of alcohol, he tore the placenta and I almost bled to death. This could all have been prevented if one, only one person had the guts to report this man to the Board of Physicians. An addict has great ability to deny that they are addicted. They have to sometimes be hit hard in the face with the addiction before they will change. Since you are aware of her addiction, if you do not take steps to prevent her from practicing while she is using, then morally you would be just as guilty if she harms anyone. I can see how concerned you are and that is the first step. The second step is to let her know you are aware of it and give her the option to get help or you will have to take steps to prevent her from practicing medicine while using. This may scare her into seeking help. However, if she doesn't take steps to get help, then you must inform the board. They too, will want her to get help, but their words may have a greater impact on her then yours does. Please take action quickly. Lives are at risk.
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Mon Sep 20, 2004 7:28 am

User avatar Yes I agree with you CmMerritt The Board of Physicians should be informed immediately. They will both offer her help and prevent her from harming anyone else. I know its tough capricorn but it has to be done.
 Dr. Yasser Mokhtar - Tue Sep 21, 2004 10:55 am

User avatar Dear All,

This is a very serious situation as Carolyn eluded to.

If the physician that Capricorn mentioned does not drink during working hours now, it is just a matter of time before this starts happening and the consequences will most probably be detrimental to this physician and her family, patients and their families and the institution where she works.

Prevention is always better than treatment. And some of the consequences that might occur can be without remedy.

This situation is not a rare one. The problem is that many of the people think that the physician's carrier will be ruined if someone reports him/her. This is not true, this situation is usually taken very seriously, investigated to make sure that the allegations are correct and then dealt with in the most confidential and professional way whether the problem is alcohol or drugs.

It is all for the greater good, this has to be put in mind. And i think it is better for the physician to admit that there is a problem and that this problem has to be solved before her reputation is ruined when she shows up at the workplace drunk and does something that everybody will regret.

Capricorn, if you are close to her enough, i would strongly encourage you to try and convince her to come out on her own and try to seek help and i am sure that she will appreciate this advice on your part in the future.

Yasser Mokhtar, M.D.
 lilysuzanne - Wed Dec 07, 2005 3:06 pm

I just wanted to say I was so surprised to read the doctors and nurse did not want to protect the doctor, but were more worried about the patients.
 carolannah - Tue Jan 10, 2006 9:48 pm

A question for lilysuzanne:

Forgive me, but, I do not understand why you would say you were surprised to read that the doctors and nurse did not want to protect the doctor, any medical professional is obligated first and foremost to uphold the best interest of the patient/patients. To have knowledge of a doctor practicing medicine in an impaired condition and not report it to the proper authority would be irresponsible with full repercussion.


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