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Healthcare Legal Issues

You are a new administrator at Jamestown hospital. You receive a call from the nurse manager of the emergency room department. Dr. Smith, an emergency room physician and an employee of your hospital, has just reported for work. The nurse suspects that Dr. Smith is intoxicated. What do you do?

In your response to this scenario please research the legal issues surrounding this issue, and the steps you would take as you solve this problem. Please provide your rationale with supporting evidence from the literature. Please provide at least 2 references (no websites).

Thank you.

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Solution Preview

There are plenty of issues to consider in this scenario, both legal and ethical, which I will discuss. As well, at the bottom, I have listed some articles from reputable scholarly journals that may be useful.

First of all, there is both the legal and ethical issue of the patients' safety. As we all know, an intoxicated person has impaired judgement, decreased inhibition, and reduced coordination. A drunk doctor simply will not be able to perform their medical duties to the same standard. Furthermore, their interactions with the patient will likely be less than professional. Therefore, as the administrator, the first action must be to send that doctor home, removing them from any position of responsibility or authority in the hospital for that shift. Another doctor will have to be called in.

It should be noted that actually trying to confront that doctor and decide long term actions at this moment may not be advisable since they are intoxicated. They should be sent home to "sleep it off" and spoken to at the earliest moment. Most likely, they should not be working until some decision is made. This may mean advising them to take sick ...

Solution Summary

Healthcare legal issues for emergency room physicians are given. The rationale to support evidence from literature is given.