Sunday, August 3, 2014
California would become the first state to require doctors to submit to random drug and alcohol tests under a measure to appear on the ballot this November.
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[T]he measure threatens to put the medical profession in the difficult position of having to argue against the kind of scrutiny that an increasing number of workers — particularly in jobs affecting the public well-being — routinely undergo. Backers of Proposition 46 have begun putting out a steady stream of news releases about cases involving doctors with a history of drug and alcohol abuse. “It’s crucial: I can’t believe we haven’t done this already,” said Arthur L. Caplan, a medical ethicist at New York University. “We can argue about how often that is, and what to do if you are positive. But the idea that we wouldn’t be screening our surgeon, our anesthesiologist or our oncologist when we are going to screen our bus drivers and our airline pilots strikes me as ethically indefensible.”