Doctor accused of working while drunk suspended in Kentucky

A doctor was suspended in Kentucky this week by the state’s medical licensing board.
A doctor was suspended in Kentucky this week by the state’s medical licensing board.

Credit: Leon Neal

Credit: Leon Neal

A doctor who raised concerns that he might have been drunk while working at a Kentucky hospital has been suspended by the state's medical licensing board, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

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The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure released an emergency suspension order against Thomas Paul Splan on Friday, the newspaper reported.

Splan lives in Virginia, but was working temporarily at the Appalachian Regional Healthcare hospital in Hazard on April 6 when the incident allegedly happened, according to the suspension order.

According to a complaint filed with the board, a hospital administrator received a telephone call from staff members, who said they were concerned that Splan was impaired.

The staff members said Splan's eyes were red, he could barely stand and he fell asleep in mid-conversation, WYMT reported. A test showed Splan's blood alcohol level was .187 percent, authorities told the television station. The legal limit in Kentucky is .08 percent.

During an evaluation at a facility in Virginia, Splan, whose specialty is internal medicine, said he'd been treated for alcohol dependence, the Herald-Leader reported. Splan said he had been sober since Feb. 23, 2011, before drinking alcohol on a flight from Richmond, Virginia, to Lexington on March 31, according to the emergency order.

Splan said he began working the Hazard hospital on April 2. According to the suspension order, Splan would work from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and then return to his motel, where he would drink, the Herald-Leader reported.

According to the suspension order, Splan said he drank nearly a fifth of alcohol every day, stopping about midnight before his shift early on April 6. He said he felt tired and “fairly hung over” that morning but did not feel intoxicated, the newspaper reported.

Hospital officials fired Splan, the Herald-Leader reported.

Splan told the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure that he has not had a drink since April 6 and has had no issues in the Virginia hospital where he works, WYMT reported.

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