NAPA Valley Register
Napa State psychiatrist in Trump election funk faces accusation from medical board
By Jennifer Huffman
July 27, 2018
A Napa State Hospital psychiatrist, Michael J. Cosgrove M.D., faces disciplinary action by the California State Medical Board after being accused of unprofessional conduct involving alcohol.
The charges, filed on July 11, stem from an incident on Nov. 9, 2016, the morning after President 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 very 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.”
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 did not respond to a Register interview request this week.
To determine how Cosgrove will be disciplined, the state medical board will also be considering 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 declined to comment on the November 2016 incident.
Cosgrove faces possible disciplinary actions including revoking or suspending his license, removing his approval of supervision other health care workers or probation.
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.
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