A Napa State Hospital psychiatrist who was so upset about the 2016 election of Donald Trump that he spent election night drinking and arrived at work the next morning intoxicated has been placed on seven years’ probation.
After being accused of unprofessional conduct that involved alcohol, Michael J. Cosgrove, M.D. is now prohibited from engaging in the solo practice of medicine, and prohibited from supervising physician assistants and advanced practice nurses. The order was published by the Medical Board of California on May 10.
Cosgrove also agreed to abstain from alcohol use, undergo a psychiatric evaluation, enroll in an ethics course, participate in drug screening testing and join a substance abuse support group.
The charges, filed on July 11, stem from an incident on Nov. 9, 2016, the morning after Trump’s election victory.
At 9:05 a.m., Cosgrove was seen walking through a parking lot of Napa State Hospital on his way to work. He had worked at Napa State Hospital as a psychiatrist since 2009.
A Napa State Hospital police officer observed that Cosgrove walked “with an unsteady gait and appeared to have difficulty trying to keep his balance.”
According to the report, Cosgrove told the officer that “he’d been drinking all night because he was depressed by the presidential election.”
Another officer reported that Cosgrove looked “visibly intoxicated.”
Cosgrove first denied he’d driven to work but later admitted he had, investigators said.
Cosgrove’s breath “smelled of alcohol” and he had difficulty speaking in complete sentences. His body swayed from side to side, even while sitting down, the report stated.
An officer called a friend to pick up Cosgrove and drive him home.
The next day, Cosgrove was interviewed by the Napa State police department. He told investigators that he was upset about the U.S. presidential election so he went to a liquor store where he purchased a six-pack of beer and “a tiny bottle of scotch.”
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He said he drank that alcohol between 11:30 p.m. on Nov. 8 and 4 a.m. on Nov. 9.
Cosgrove said he wasn’t drunk when he drove to work that morning but acknowledged he likely “smelled like a brewery.”
Cosgrove said he wanted to come to the hospital that morning because “he had a new patient admission … and felt pressured to attend work.”
In a later interview in February, Cosgrove gave a different account of that morning, saying he did not drink as much alcohol and stopped drinking earlier than 4 a.m. He claimed he had twisted his ankle, which contributed to his gait appearing abnormal. He also said he had hip surgery in 2015, which also affected the way he walked.
Cosgrove could not be immediately reached for a comment.
However, the May 10 decision states that Cosgrove admitted to the charges from November 2016.
To determine how Cosgrove was disciplined, the state medical board also considered several other incidents involving the physician and alcohol, including a DUI in April 2003 and a DUI in March 2007.
As a result of those cases, in May 2009, Cosgrove’s medical license was revoked but that revocation was stayed and probation was granted.
A spokesman for the Department of State Hospitals said Cosgrove is employed at Napa State Hospital but declined to comment on the November 2016 incident.
The California state board issued his physician’s and surgeon’s certificate in 1988.
The California Medical Board oversees doctors’ licenses in the state, including the more than 400 medical doctors in Napa County.