One aspect of medical negligence and malpractice involves substance abuse. With the nation trying to recover from the grips of an opioid crisis, many people in Chicago do not realize some of the victims could be the very people they trust for medical care.
Doctors, nurses and other health care professionals have high-stress job duties and easy access to medications. The official name for theft of these drugs by medical professionals is “drug diversion.” Not only may patients receive inadequate treatment at the hands of drug or alcohol addicted medical staff, they may even become infected by used or compromised needles.
Lack of detection methods
Many medical providers do not have to disclose their past substance abuse and addiction problems to their employers, and hospitals may not even have drug testing programs in place. There are rarely tracking systems or other monitoring methods in place to ensure that all drugs are accounted for.
Health care workers who abuse drugs fail their patients. They compromise patient safety and well-being, increasing the likelihood of them suffering further harm and possible death. They make more mistakes and may go to extreme lengths to support their drug habits and cover their tracks.
Substance abuse statistics
AddictionCenter.com reports that one out of every 10 doctors will suffer from alcohol or substance abuse at some point. Nurses have an even higher rate, with 20 percent struggling with alcohol or substance abuse.
Negligence and malpractice prevention
It is not always possible to identify medical professionals who suffer from drug abuse problems from their appearance. This leaves patients vulnerable. However, patients can protect themselves from negligence by researching their doctors, health care systems and other criteria. They can also check online for reviews and ask colleagues so they can better understand their options and avoid medical professionals and facilities that have problems with patient safety.