Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Drunk doctors would face criminal charges under new bill

JEFFERSON CITY, MO (MISSOURI DIGITAL NEWS) - What do you get when you cross a doctor and a bottle of Scotch? If the doctor is in the operating room, the answer is a class B misdemeanor.

Drunk doctors would face criminal charges if they practice medicine while intoxicated under a newly proposed bill.

Representative Vicki Schneider proposed a bill that would charge doctors who do this with a misdemeanor on the first offense and a felony if the patient is harmed.

Paul Passanante, a medical malpractice attorney in St.Louis, supports the bill. "If it's illegal to drive while intoxicated it sure ought to be illegal to perform something like surgery," he said.

Jeff Howell, spokesperson for the Missouri State Medical Association, agrees that this is a problem that should be addressed. However, he opposes this specific bill,, calling it "unworkable."

"It pretty much requires some type of drug test at the operating room door. And not only does it apply to physicians but it casts a much wider net. It applies to any licensed health care professional," Howell said.

Committee chair Representative Rodney Schad said the bill will be discussed in upcoming meetings.

Kadee Brosseau, Missouri Digital News


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