It's every healthcare worker's worst nightmare – unintentionally hurting or, however inconceivable, killing a patient in their care. The possibility of something like this happening can seem so remote, but unfortunately, it can happen to anyone. That includes nurses, physicians, and other healthcare professionals struggling with a substance use disorder or addiction.
It happened to a nurse in Michigan one night in 2022 when she was responsible for caring for a 3-year-old patient on a ventilator. The child was found unresponsive in the morning, and her trachea tube was disconnected. The nurse was found “incoherent” under the influence of meth. The story made headlines again recently when it was reported that her nursing license has now been permanently suspended.
In one moment, you're working as a respected healthcare worker, caring for ill and injured patients, perhaps even vulnerable pediatric patients. The next moment – because of one terrible, tragic decision – you're facing criminal charges and the likely loss of your license.
Healthcare Professionals Are Not Immune from Addiction Struggles
It's not uncommon for healthcare professionals, who are human, after all, to struggle with addiction issues, whether to alcohol or other drugs. Working in the medical field can be incredibly stressful and traumatizing, particularly to those who routinely witness young patients with chronic illnesses pass away or to those working in emergency departments.
That's why it is so important to pay attention to signs that indicate you may be developing a problem and to get help immediately. It only takes one mistake – one incredibly bad decision or act of negligence to ruin lives and ruin your career with the loss of your license. When thinking about this possibility, it's normal to feel shame and guilt because of your struggles. But this thinking can lead to more destructive behavior.
If you feel it may only be a matter of time before your addiction or substance use disorder claims your license or career, know there is help available. You are strongly urged to seek support.
Are You Under Investigation by Your State Licensing Board?
Has there already been an incident for which you are under investigation? If your license is at risk, or if it has been suspended or revoked, it's important not to panic or think irrationally, however difficult that may be. Every day, there are healthcare professionals who make honest mistakes, as well as those who make terrible decisions. There is no excuse for harming a patient through negligence or unethical conduct, but this doesn't mean you have to give up hope for recovering and possibly having your license reinstated.
Perhaps the guilt you feel has left you emotionally paralyzed and unmotivated to try to help yourself. This is understandable, but it benefits no one. If you are a medical doctor, nurse, or other healthcare practitioner ready to get your career and your life back on track and put this dark chapter behind you, the Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm can help.
The Lento Law Firm Can Help Protect Your Medical or Nursing License
We're experienced in representing medical professionals nationwide before state medical boards and negotiating with them on our client's behalf. To learn how we can help you seek the best possible outcome if you are facing possible license suspension or revocation, contact the Lento Law Firm Team today at 888.535.3686 or use our automated response form.