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Alcoholic medical providers could make dangerous mistakes

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

Most people know little about the medical professionals entrusted with their health. After all, you probably don’t know if your doctor is married, much less how they spend their off-hours.

Unfortunately, alcoholism plagues the healthcare industry. According to one source, about one in ten doctors and one in six surgeons battle substance abuse.

Can addiction affect treatment?

Some research suggests that alcoholism affects the treatment doctors and surgeons provide. Some of the possible mistakes an alcohol-affected doctor may make include:

  • Misdiagnosing injuries or health conditions
  • A reduced capacity to perform surgical techniques
  • Prescribing the wrong medicine or wrong dosages
  • Making mistakes when informing patients about treatment risks

Of course, most doctors do not perform surgery or treat patients if intoxicated. However, a recent study indicates that hangovers affect many brain functions even after the body processes alcohol, possibly resulting in:

  • Poor work performance
  • Reduced reaction time
  • Poor memory and concentration
  • Reduced ability to focus

Study participants took a breathalyzer test after an evening of alcohol consumption. The researchers only included the results from participants with a blood alcohol concentration level of less than 0.02%. A low breathalyzer reading means that most alcohol has left the system, indicating hangover conditions.

Is alcoholism admissible as evidence?

If you could actually prove a physician was impaired by alcohol while treating your condition, it might be admissible. If you suspect your doctor was impaired (hungover or drunk), tell your legal counsel because they need to know every detail related to your claim. While they might not be able to use alcoholism as evidence, it opens an additional area of investigation for representatives to consider.

Familiarizing yourself with Connecticut medical malpractice laws is another way to strengthen your claim.