April 25, 2024

We caught wind of the fact that one of our surgeons was cited for boating under the influence (or “BUI” – yes, this is a thing in our state) last weekend.  Does our Medical Staff leadership need to take any action, or do we only need to act if we’ve observed problems in the hospital?

A BUI or (more commonly) a DUI may reflect a momentary lapse in judgment or be the sign of a more significant problem.  Given this uncertainty and the potential risks to patients, we think it makes sense to speak with the individual about the BUI/DUI, gather any additional information that may be relevant, and decide if any further action is needed.  This approach should give you the information you need to make sure patients are kept safe.  It will also help you to determine if any steps should be taken in regard to your Medical Staff colleague.

Ideally, you have processes in place through your Medical Staff Bylaws and policies to help your physician leaders navigate these issues in a supportive, non-punitive manner.  If you do not, a practitioner health policy should be on your Medical Staff leadership’s “to do” list for this year, as impairment of all kinds (substance abuse, mental and physical health, disease, etc.) can occur at any time.

If you have a quick question about this, e-mail Ian Donaldson at IDonaldson@hortyspringer.com.