The prescription drug epidemic in our country reaches deep into the medical
community. More than 100,000 doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers
across America struggle with addiction to narcotics, such as oxycodone
and fentanyl. Their problems are especially difficult to detect due to
the knowledge and access these professionals have to narcotics and other
prescription drugs on a regular basis.
"Drug diversion," the official term for stealing drugs, by a
single healthcare worker can endanger thousands of patients. An itinerant
hospital technician who was caught injecting himself with patients'
pain medicine and refilling the same syringes with saline caused nearly
8,000 thousand people to require hepatitis testing, and eventually infected
at least 46 people.
Oversight mechanisms used to detect, report, and address drug problems
in healthcare environments are haphazard and largely ineffective, leaving
much of the damage unnoticed and undocumented.
Substance Abuse Risk
A USA Today review of government data and independent studies on drug abuse
among healthcare practitioners caught diverting drugs indicated that an
average of 103,000 doctors, nurses, technicians, and healthcare aides
were abusing or dependent on illicit drugs. Some studies indicate the
problem could be much worse, estimating that 1 in 10 practitioners will
fall into drug or alcohol abuse at some point in his/her life.
Unlike other high-risk industries, safeguards to prevent and detect drug
abuse in healthcare are rarely employed. No state has universal drug testing
requirements, and many institutions lack video surveillance or high-tech
systems to monitor dangerous drugs.
Also, many states lack regulations to ensure that medical facilities alert
law enforcement if employees are caught abusing or diverting drugs. As
a result, these staffers are often released, only to find new jobs without
treatment or intervention. Even if they are caught or reported, it is
rare for a practitioner to receive disciplinary action for drug abuse
until they have committed multiple infractions.
To prevent theft locally, one large healthcare facility, Genesis, uses
a secure drug dispensary system. Much like an ATM machine, surveillance
cameras monitor the machines, access is limited to a few personnel, and
withdrawals are reviewed by two reports.
Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyers
If you have been injured or a loved one has died due to the negligence
of a healthcare professional, the
Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers at Golomb & Honik can offer expert advice on your legal issues. Our
experienced Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys work with clients
on a one-on-one basis and help determine the best course of action for
each individual situation.
To learn more about your legal options or to schedule a free consultation call the
Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers at Golomb & Honik today at
1-800-355-3300 or 1-215-985-9177 or fill out our confidential
The medical malpractice lawyers at Golomb & Honik have successfully
represented injured individuals in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and throughout
the United States.