Kentucky Plastic Surgeon Shows Up Drunk to Operate and This Is What Happens Next

Stories come out almost everyday about the crazy patients that doctors have to deal with. But what happens when the doctor is the one doing something crazy? Such was the case for a plastic surgeon in Lexington, Kentucky who reportedly showed up to work after hitting the bottle a little too hard. Want to know what happens next? Read on.

The culprit

Theo Gerstle in a headshot.

This plastic surgeon got in major trouble. | Lexington PS

The party in question is plastic surgeon Dr. Theodore Gerstle, who had a scheduled surgery at Baptist Heath Lexington on January 15, 2018. According to Tech Times, Gerstle was not on staff at the hospital, but made special appearances for certain procedures and had some staff privileges.

Next: Now that you know the basics…

How the situation unfolded

Medical team preparing equipment for surgery.

Gerstle was scheduled for a surgery that day. | Hin255/iStock/Getty Images

Hospital spokesman Ruth Ann Childers told the Lexington Herald Leader that staffers became concerned when Gerstle showed up ahead of a schedule surgery seemingly intoxicated. They alerted the chief medical officer, who confronted Gerstle about the allegation before he could start the surgery. Upon the confrontation, Gerstle exited the hospital premises.

Next: But it doesn’t stop there.

What happened next?

A doctor's white coat.

The hospital staff noticed he was intoxicated. |

The Lexington Herald Leader reports that the hospital staff called the police as Gerstle fled the scene. He didn’t make it far, as authorities reportedly apprehended him just two blocks away. It was reportedly around 30-degrees outside and Gerstle was running away without any outwear over his scrubs and white doctor’s coat when he was arrested.

Next: Of course, that isn’t the end of the story.

The punishment

Handcuffs on a judge's desk.

He was arrested near the hospital. |

According to the Daily Mail, Gerstle was arrested for public intoxication and taken to Fayette County Jail. The privileges he had at Baptist Heath Lexington were suspended in light of the incident. WKYT reports that Gerstle’s lawyer entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf at the arraignment in late January.

Next: Of course, now we must ask this about the surgeon…

Does he have a track record?

A team of surgeons working during an operation.

Whether or not this is his first offense, it could ruin his career. |

It is unclear whether Gerstle has any past issues with public intoxication, although this could still harm is satus as a surgeon. The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure still lists him as an active physician, although their site also says it doesn’t include current grievances in its database. It isn’t clear at this time how how much status will change as more information about the incident comes to light.

Next: Are there more Dr. Gerstle’s out there?

Is this sort of thing common?

Whiskey on a wooden table.

The statistics are shocking. |

As it turns out, alcohol isn’t foreign to the surgeon world. The Daily Mail points to 2012 study revealing that more than 15% out of 25,000 American surgeons pooled “probably struggled with some form of alcohol dependence or abuse.” Physician Health Program explains that long hours and highly stressful work situations make doctors and surgeons more susceptible to alcoholism.

Next: Does it stop at alcohol.

Other horror stories

Three doctors working during an operation.

Could this happen to anyone? |

The Tech Times references other instances when surgeons have acted unprofessionally at work. And unlike Gerstle’s case, many of these surgeons actually made it into the operating room! In one case, a 70-year-old patient sued her surgeon after the surgeon was reportedly talking on the phone during a procedure.

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