The Medical Board of California has placed the license of a "physiatrist or physical medicine and rehabilitation physician" on probation for six years after he crashed his Jaguar into a pole. The crash itself may not have been enough to threaten his license, but the responding police officers reportedly found drugs in the doctor's car.
According to a news report, witnesses had observed the doctor engaging in erratic driving behavior before the crash occurred. After the crash, the doctor got out of the car and removed several medicine bottles from car's center console. The police said that the driver showed signs of impairment and admitted to using cocaine, oxycontin and valium. Officers found a baggie containing what appeared to be cocaine as well as unmarked containers of medication.
The doctor was arrested on charges of drug possession, DUI and "being under the influence of a controlled substance." Testing revealed the presence of an anti-anxiety medication in the doctor's blood. After the physician pleaded guilty to the DUI charge, the Orange County Superior Court dropped the other charges.
It is unclear whether the doctor acquired a professional license defense to help him face the medical board, but the consequences of his actions were mild compared to what could have happened. The board originally revoked his license, but changed it to a six-year probation. As long as he complies with the board's conditions, he may continue to practice.
As you can see from this case, it is possible to make even serious mistakes without completely ruining your career. The outcome in such cases will depend on the facts and circumstances surrounding the threat to a license. However, working with a professional license defense attorney can improve the chances of holding on to your license.