A new study confirms alarming levels of alcohol abuse and alcohol dependency among surgeons in the United States. According to the study, which has been published in the February issue of the Archives of Surgery, approximately one out of every 6 surgeons reported problems related to alcohol dependence.
The researchers e-mailed more than 25,000 doctors to ask them about their drinking practices. Out of these, barely 7,200 doctors actually responded to the survey. Of these, approximately 15% were found to show signs of alcohol abuse and dependence. Further drilling into the statistics found that 14% of male surgeons were likely to show abuse, while among female surgeons, the rate was 26%.
Although, just one third of the doctors responded to the survey, the researchers are concerned enough to call the findings a significant problem. According to the researchers, the level of alcohol abuse seen in the survey indicates a high potential to impair surgeons’ ability to perform surgery safely.
So, how worried should you be that your surgeon has an alcohol problem that you're not aware of? The surgeons say, ‘not very.’ According to them, there are very few cases involving surgeons who made medical errors under the influence of alcohol. The chances of your surgeon making a medical major medical error while operating in a intoxicated condition, are actually quite low.
However, California medical malpractice attorneys would like this study to encourage surgeons who struggle with alcohol addiction to come forward for treatment. It's also important for hospitals to give this study particular attention. Health facilities must undertake intervention strategies when they become aware of an alcohol dependency problem among staff members.