Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ethics & Alcohol

By Shawn Vuong

Today, Dr. Craig Uthe, a Family Practice phsyician in Sioux Falls, came in to talk to the medical students during their Introduction to Clinical Medicine class.  The topic for the day was Substance Abuse in General Practice.  We learned lots about the addiction process, and the tough road through recovery.  

Most interesting to me was the dilemma brought up near the end of the class.

Lets say there is a man named Mr. Jones.  Mr. Jones seems like he works non-stop, and today he finally has a day off to catch up on some things around the house.  He gets up early, fixes that dripping faucet that needed fixing, enjoys a wonderful lunch with his wife and children, and plays some ball outside with his kids in the afternoon.  Later that afternoon, he decides the grass is looking a little long.  Mr. Jones gets out the old lawn mower and starts cutting grass.  About half way through, he grabs an ice cold beer and drinks the whole thing before continuing to mow.  At that moment, he gets a call from work.  Its an emergency, and he needs to come in right away.  

Now lets say Mr. Jones is a maintenance man at the local hospital, and the power is cutting out in one wing of the little hospital.  Does the fact that he had a beer effect his work?  Should he be coming into work at all?

Now lets say Mr. Jones is actually Dr. Jones, and he is coming into the local hospital to deliver your baby.  Does the fact that he had one beer effect whether or not you want him to deliver your child?  Should he have been called in at all?  

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