Activists in California Protesting to Make Physician Drug Testing Mandatory
Recently, the activists in California made an appeal to concerned authorities to make drug-alcohol testing mandatory for physicians. The activists have proposed that ensuring patient safety should be the first and foremost priority for any hospital administration and doing a comprehensive background check on medical professionals is the best way to do that.
Consider this – A doctor is in Hawaii with his friends on a vacation. He decided to smoke a joint late night. He repeats the same for 3 consecutive nights. When he comes back, he is required to perform a critical surgery on a patient. Now just think, isn’t he posing a risk to the patient’s life by performing a surgery while he still has trace quantities of the substance in his blood stream?
Hospital administration cannot afford to slacken the screening standards on physicians. As a matter of fact, it’s quite the opposite. Being a high-risk industry, health care sector should be as much subjected to screening laws and regulations as other industries such as airlines and railways. The cost of negligence in this sector can be as high as an unexpected death. In case a physician is found to be impaired, administration needs to take the necessary steps and instruct them to take the appropriate treatment.
Medical association has considered the matter seriously and is planning to take discrete measures to make it mandatory for physicians to undergo random alcohol-drug testing and routine alcohol-drug testing. The checks will also be performed on attending nurses and paramedical staff. The challenge is to set testing standards for physicians’ screening by a regulatory body. By standardizing screening process for medical professionals, patients will be protected from medical negligence and physicians will be driven to follow the disciplined approach for their profession.