Patients at Increased Risk for Delayed and Substandard Treatment
Wichita, KS -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/04/2015 --There are an estimated 100,000 doctors and nurses in the United States who are suffering from addictions to prescription drugs (U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). This negligence in quality care has increased the risk of medical malpractice for patients. It has resulted in outbreaks of hepatitis infections, serious injury, and wrongful death.
"There are many reasons why medical professionals misuse prescription drugs," says Bradley J. Prochaska, medical malpractice attorney at Prochaska, Howell & Prochaska LLC. "Some turn to prescription drugs to self-medicate themselves, in order to cope with the pain and disappointment in their professional and personal lives. Because of their positions in the medical field, they have easy access to powerful prescription drugs."
Medical professionals are overworked, and experience high levels of stress and anxiety. Doctors during their residency also feel the pressures of paying their student loan debts. Many nurses suffer from fatigue and job dissatisfaction due to the short staffing of hospitals. A large number of these medical professionals turn to pain pills, alcohol, cocaine, codeine, oxycodone, fentanyl, and prescription drugs to cope with the demands of their job.
"Physicians who abuse drugs are at a higher risk for medical malpractice," says Prochaska. "Doctors and nurses are required to make life and death decisions. Those impaired by the influence of drugs are much more likely to provide delayed or substandard treatment, and misdiagnose symptoms. This negligence can result in patients falling victim to preventable permanent injury and death."
Stricter drug testing for physicians is an issue that continues to draw national attention in medical malpractice cases. However, there is currently no mandatory random drug testing policy for medical professionals. Instead of a state medical board, testing is administered by a physician's hospital or clinic. This conflict of interest has lead many concerned parties to call for stricter testing that holds medical professionals more accountable for their drug abuse.