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View Full Version : Would a drug addict be allowed to get an MD?



adktd2bks
04-15-2009, 01:21 AM
I'm wondering if this is possible, not knowing what the protocol/standards would have been about 15 years ago. The character in question would have had a drug problem in his first few years of college, resulting in him flunking out of school. Then would have returned to school after receiving treatment and had gone on to receive his MD but during all of his schooling, he hasn't told anyone that he had a problem with drugs. Later, he realizes that he can treat his patients better if he can be honest with them about his own usage, and so he goes to his administrator and tells him/her about his past. I'm thinking that he would probably be called up for some sort of hearing before the medical board, but beyond that, I'm not sure what would happen. Would he lose his license even though he had been sober for nearly ten years or would he be put on probation? Any ideas?

Thanks.

AngelRoseDarke
04-15-2009, 05:34 AM
As long as he is not a current user he's in the clear. They can't do anything about his past, especially if there is no criminal record. There are tons of doctors and nurses with extensive drug history (check out the nonfiction section here for some of mine), and it never comes up unless someone is caught still using.

The administrator may request that he take a drug test based on his confession, but as long as it comes back clean there will be no further issues. The medical board would not be notified unless there was proven current use.

I hope that helps.

Palmfrond
04-15-2009, 05:39 AM
On the other hand, he won't be able to get contracts with insurance companies and IPAs, so he probably won't have any income unless he works for Kaiser. Every contract I've signed requires the MD to swear he/she has never used drugs, and requires a signature on a release form so they can ask all your former contacts.

kikilynn
04-15-2009, 05:43 AM
There was an episode of ER like this awhile back, Carter had a problem. If I remember correctly he was sent to rehab and had to have drug testing at the end of every shift. I know your character doesn't have a problem at the time, but he basically got away with a slap on the wrist. If your character is as well loved, maybe you could create the same scenario.
Disclaimer-
*ER is not real life and therefore can not be construed as research*

Ciera_
04-15-2009, 05:48 AM
If your character is a pretty girl on Prison Break, then yes. But you'd think most doctors have experimented just a wee bit, in college, right? Maybe your character should just not admit to it like the rest of them! Beyond that, all I can say is good luck!

benbradley
04-15-2009, 07:24 AM
I'm wondering if this is possible, not knowing what the protocol/standards would have been about 15 years ago. The character in question would have had a drug problem in his first few years of college, resulting in him flunking out of school. Then would have returned to school after receiving treatment and had gone on to receive his MD but during all of his schooling, he hasn't told anyone that he had a problem with drugs. Later, he realizes that he can treat his patients better if he can be honest with them about his own usage, and so he goes to his administrator and tells him/her about his past. I'm thinking that he would probably be called up for some sort of hearing before the medical board, but beyond that, I'm not sure what would happen. Would he lose his license even though he had been sober for nearly ten years or would he be put on probation? Any ideas?

Thanks.
Doctors and nurses have to answer to the licensing boards when it comes to this. If a board finds out someone is an addict or alcoholic, whether "practicing" or self-admitted, and even with years in recovery, the board will require not only ongoing drug/sobriety testing (and even recovering drug addicts are not allowed to drink alcohol, even one drink), but also require attendance at recovery groups to get or keep a probationary license. The licensing boards require this for many years, and if at a hearing the board doesn't think the person is "doing enough" to maintain sobriety (even if all drug tests turn out clean), the board can arbitrarily extend the time.

Here's a longish discussion thread on the legality of these actions (talking about stirring up some stuff), but it will give you a good idea of what recovering nurses are required to do to keep their licenses. Licensing boards for doctors and attorneys have very similar requirements.
http://allnurses.com/general-nursing-discussion/12-step-coercion-68978.html

Ben, drink free for 21 years and meeting free for nine years.

adktd2bks
04-15-2009, 05:43 PM
Thanks so much for all the help guys!