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15 percent of surgeons struggle with substance abuse issues

Alcohol abuse may be a bigger issue for surgeons than you imagined. Studies have shown that around 15 percent of people working in the profession deal with chronic alcohol abuse issues.

These studies also contend that alcohol abuse and alcoholism are more common among surgeons than among the United States population as a whole. Is there something about this profession in particular that makes people more likely to drink too much?

Some things that may contribute include the following:

  • Surgeons have long hours. They're not just putting in eight hours and heading home.
  • The work they do is very hard. It's technical, and the stakes are high.
  • Even a surgeon who is very talented and successful faces a lot of stress every day, with every operation that he or she performs.
  • Sometimes, patients die. Surgeons know that life and death may hang in the balance with every job they do. When people pass away, it can be very hard to deal with.
  • Surgeons do not have a lot of free time. They may drink more on their time off because they do not have time to spread it out.

Of course, alcohol abuse is a serious issue for patients. If a surgeon is hungover or even intoxicated while working, is he or she really going to be able to keep the patient safe? Could this abuse lead to botched surgeries, injuries and even death? When this happens, it is important for those who suffer these injuries or surviving family members of those who pass away to know all of their legal options.

Source: Physician Health Program, "The Problem Of Surgeons And Drinking," accessed April 29, 2018

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