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Supporters of the bill also spoke at the conference to announce 830,000 signatures, including one man whose father entered a vegetative state after an alleged alcoholic cardiologist walked out mid-surgery to go to lunch.

"Nearly one in five doctors, 18 percent of doctors, have a substance abuse problem during their careers," said Jamie Court of nonprofit group Consumer Watchdog.

The signatures were enough to get the measure in front of voters, strengthening the already-intense dispute between California lawyers and doctors.

The measure would: require random drug testings of doctors; require doctors to consult a database to make sure their patient isn't abusing prescription drugs before prescribing them to that patient; and lift the limit of $250,000 in "pain and suffering" damages in medical malpractice awards.