Doctor accused of being drunk at work at Hazard hospital

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HAZARD, Ky. (WTVQ/Herald-Leader)- A doctor can no longer practice in Kentucky after being accused of being drunk at work at the Hazard Appalachian Regional Healthcare Hospital (ARH).

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure released an order for an emergency suspension against Dr. Thomas Paul Splan on Friday.

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Splan specializes in internal medicine and currently lives in Virginia.

The paper reports it was early April when ARH employees reported Splan was drunk at work.

A doctor said his eyes were red and he could barely stand up. Another employee said she saw him asleep at his desk and he had fallen asleep while talking with her.

The suspension order notes his blood alcohol level was .187.

According to the paper, Splan said he had been treated for alcohol dependence and had been sober since 2011. He said he then drank alcohol on a flight to Lexington at the end of March.

The order says after he started working at the hospital in Hazard in early April he would drink in the evening after work until midnight before going to work again at 6 a.m.

On the day employees complained, Splan said he felt tired and hungover, but not intoxicated.

The Herald-Leader reports the treatment center Splan was at says he has severe alcohol use disorder and shouldn’t be practicing medicine until he finishes residential treatment.

Early in October, Splan told an investigator from the board he hasn’t drunk alcohol since he was in Hazard and he doesn’t think he needs treatment. He said he hasn’t had any issues at the hospital he has been working at in Virginia.

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Veronica Jean Seltzer joins ABC 36 as Anchor/Reporter. On most weekdays, you will see her reporting the news. VJ hails from a small horse farm outside New York City and most recently comes from South Bend, Indiana where she reported for the CBS and Fox affiliates. VJ holds a Master of Science in Journalism degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University. Her passion for journalism runs deep. It began as she studied graffiti as an ancient form of communication in Athens, Greece. While a student journalist in Morocco, she learned her most important journalistic lesson: good stories are about people. VJ loves life in and around Lexington. She feels most at home among horses and a diverse community of fascinating people. She enjoys reporting during the week and on the weekend she strives to bring her neighbors the news that matters most to them. VJ enjoys going to neighborhood events, exploring, horseback riding, skiing, sailing, and good movies. Look for her out and about in the community! VJ invites you to reach out to her with story ideas or just to say hello! Find her on Facebook at Veronica Jean Seltzer ABC 36, tweet her @VJS_ABC36, or email her at VSeltzer@wtvq.com. She looks forward to hearing from you!