Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Anesthesiologist’s Drug Dependency not Protected under ADA

An anesthesiologist who was terminated by a practice group in Oregon failed to show that a chemical dependency problem rendered him disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act or that his termination was improper, a federal trial court ruled June 6 (Tyson v. Oregon Anesthesiology Group PC, D. Ore., No. 03-1192, 6/6/08).

The U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon ruled that Dr. Geoffrey Tyson failed to demonstrate that he qualified, because of his drug dependency problem, as disabled under the ADA or that the practice group that terminated him, Oregon Anesthesiology Group PC (OAG), regarded him as disabled.

In reaching these conclusions, the court found there was insufficient evidence that his chemical dependency, which allegedly led him to divert patient medications and compromised patient care, constituted a condition that limited his ability to work or carry out another major life activity. He also could not show that he was otherwise qualified for the anesthesiology position he held or the other positions he sought while his privileges at an Oregon hospital were suspended.

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