Random Drug Testing for Physicians Favored by the Public
Though we would like to believe that physicians are above problems like substance abuse, the reality is that no one is immune. Physicians, however, are entrusted with the lives of others, and their impairment can greatly increase the risk of a patient being injured (resulting in a medical malpractice case). Random drug testing could reduce this risk by deterring those already practicing from using and discouraging anyone already using from entering the field.Physicians Remain Untouched by Drug Testing in the Workplace
Drug testing has become commonplace over the last 25 years. Active military personnel are randomly tested at least once per year. Federal law mandates that employees with “safety sensitive” jobs (bus drivers, commercial truck drivers, commercial pilots and their crews, etc.) be randomly tested for drug use. Additionally, an increasing number of private employers have voluntarily adopted drug testing within the workplace.
In contrast, physicians have remained untouched by drug testing in the workplace. No authority in the United States mandates that doctors be tested for drug use; this includes all physician accreditation programs. There are some hospitals that reportedly conduct random drug testing on their employees, including physicians, but none of them have ever been identified in public reports.California Ballot Opens Conversation about Physician Drug Testing
On the November 2014 ballot, voters in California were asked to weigh in on physician drug testing through measure “Proposition 46.” It ultimately failed, but a poll from the Los Angeles Times suggests that the failure may have had more to do with its companion proposal that would have raised California’s cap on noneconomic damages in malpractice suits. In it, voters supported physician drug testing by a margin of 68 percent to 25 percent.
Physicians themselves appeared to be split on the issue, with 43 percent opposing the idea and 39 percent supporting it. Those that endorsed it stated that physician drug testing could further protect patient safety. Those that opposed it say it would be demeaning, and they questioned the fairness, accuracy, and necessity of such testing.Get Help with Your Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional deviates from the “standard of care.” This does not have to include substance abuse, and your malpractice case deserves quality representation, regardless of what happens with physician drug testing in the future. The skilled San Jose medical malpractice attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. understand this, and are ready and willing to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a consultation today.