Supporters of a bill making it illegal to practice medicine while intoxicated in Missouri say the law could save patients from serious injuries or death at the hands of drug-addicted doctors.
The House Committee on Crime Prevention and Public Safety heard testimony Monday on the measure sponsored by Republican Vicki Schneider, of O'Fallon.
The bill would make it a misdemeanor to perform surgery or a medical procedure while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The charge would be a felony if a patient were injured or killed.
St. Louis attorney Paul Passanante said the law might deter physicians from performing improper surgeries or writing illegal prescriptions to support their habits.
The Missouri State Medical Association opposes the measure, arguing lawmakers should instead make it easier for the state to confiscate a doctor's license.