SW Legal studies in Business

Physician with Sleep Disorder Loses License; Not Qualified for Disability Protection
Description Appeals court affirmed the decision of a state medical licensing board to revoke the license of a physician who suffered from a sleep disorder that caused him to endanger patients during surgery. ADA protection is not available because no reasonable accommodation is possible.
Topic Employment Discrimination
Key Words Disability; Qualified Individual; Reasonable Accommodation; Professional Licensing
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Ogin, a physician who practiced as an anesthesiologist, had his license to practice medicine revoked by the Colorado State Board of Medical Examiners. An inquiry into his practice showed that three times when he was administering anesthesia during surgery he punctured the chest wall of the patients. He attributed this to a sleep disorder. The examiners held that because he was a danger to patients, he was not qualified to practice medicine. Ogin appealed, contending that his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act were violated.

Affirmed. Evidence supports the decision of the board that no reasonable accommodation of Ogin's disorder could be made that would permit him to practice surgical anesthesia while ensuring patient safety. Thus, he was not a "qualified individual" eligible for ADA protection. The ADA does not prevent professional licensing agencies from imposing discipline if the offender is not a qualified individual with a disability.

Citation Colorado State Board of Medical Examiners v. Ogin, --- P.3d --- (2002 WL 31116694, Ct. App., Colo., 2002)

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