San Diego Doctor Accused of Getting High While Treating Patients: Lawsuit

The complaint filed in federal court in San Diego on Jan. 24 claims Dr. Bradley Hay was addicted to opioids while working at UC San Diego Medical Center, and treated patients while high

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A class-action lawsuit filed in federal court in San Diego claims a lack of proper supervision and procedures allowed a local doctor to get high while treating patients.

The complaint – filed on Jan. 24 – claims the UC San Diego Medical Center played a years-long game of “Russian Roulette by failing to tell hundreds of patients that a drug-addicted doctor stole their pain medication.”

The claim alleged the doctor also overbilled patients and “administered life-threatening anesthesia while he was high.”

In an edited video deposition obtained by NBC 7, Dr. Bradley Hay, 44, comes clean about his opioid addiction while on the job.

The doctor is asked, “You used fentanyl and became addicted?”

“Yes,” Hay answered.

According to the complaint, Hay overdosed on the same day he was caring for patient Robert Lopez.

Lopez is represented by prominent San Diego attorney Gene Iredale.

“We’re terrified there’s a systemic issue,” Iredale told NBC 7.

According to court documents, Hay watched over or administered anesthesia to 800 patients during an 8-month period between April 2016 and January 2017  at UC San Diego Medical Center.

During that time the complaint notes: “Hay stole sedatives and pain medication from his patients, used controlled substances while on duty and administered anesthesia while under the influence of narcotics."

“There could be someone who suffered real harm as a result of this and doesn't know it,” Iredale said. “There could be someone who woke up in crippling pain.”

Iredale said whether someone was hurt can't be determined yet because of what he's calling a cover-up.

The complaint notes the list of 800 patients have not been notified as evidenced by a video deposition taken in December from the former Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology, Gerard Manecke, Jr.

“Were any patients notified Dr. Hay was stealing drugs? Not to my knowledge," Manecke answered in the deposition.

“UCSD has to be accountable for following the law,” said Iredale. They have to notify the patients in accordance with health and safety code.”

NBC 7 reached out to Hay's attorney Tuesday but we did not immediately get a response. In a previous statement, Hay's attorney said his client has been clean for a while and is committed to his sobriety and family.

A spokesman for UC San Diego Medical Center said the hospital can't comment on pending litigation.

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