If you think back to your time in medical school and all of the years and effort you put into studying and learning and preparing for a career in medicine, there may have been multiple occasions where you wondered if you’d make it through. Earning a license to practice medicine in South Dakota was likely one of the proudest moments of your life. However, various issues, such as facing DUI charges, can place your hard-earned license at risk.
The term Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) refers to physicians or others who engage in hazardous activity under the influence of alcohol, such as driving while intoxicated. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that most people who are arrested for a first offense of DUI have driven under the influence of alcohol at least 80 times prior to the arrest.
The medical board will launch an investigation if you are arrested for DUI
You might have a clean criminal record and no reprimands or disciplinary actions against you in your medical career. However, if you are arrested for suspected DUI, you can expect the medical license board to launch an investigation to determine if you have AUD.
American Medical Association prohibits alcohol for physicians on call
If you happened to have been on call when you were taken into police custody for a suspected DUI, you automatically have a strike against you with the American Medical Association, which prohibits the consumption of alcohol in such circumstances. As a physician, you are ethically mandated to protect public safety.
Studies show that cognitive impairment often sets in before your blood alcohol content level reaches the legal threshold .08. Hence, the American Medical Association considers it a risk for physicians on call to consume alcohol due to the possibility of being cognitively impaired if it becomes necessary to examine or treat a patient.
One-time error or AUD
There is a significant difference between a momentary lapse of judgment and an ongoing alcohol addiction. The latter may not only cause problems in your personal life, but it can also place patients at risk for injury. There is a program in place to help physicians who have substance abuse problems.
If you were to participate in such a program, it is possible that doing so might help you protect your license to practice medicine in South Dakota if you have been arrested for DUI. You may have other options available to you, as well, which is why it is best to consult with someone who can advocate on your behalf if you are called to appear before the licensure board.