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Medical Boards may not do enough to keep unsafe doctors from practicing

Patients put their trust, and their lives, in the hands of medical professionals. Although many physicians provide a high quality of care, others do not. Patients may feel they are protected by the Medical Board from physicians who could harm them. After all, this organization is responsible for the licenses that are required for a physician to practice medicine.

Unfortunately, a recent report by USA Today found Medical Boards throughout the country may not be adequately protecting patients. Grossly negligent and reckless conduct by physicians has led to medical malpractice claims across the United States. In many cases, injury and even death to patients may have been avoided had the Medical Board of the state stepped in and properly reprimanded the physician in question. Some examples include:

  • One physician in Texas prescribed a lethal combination of drugs, ultimately leading to the death of his patient. The physician had received multiple reprimands from the Medical Board prior to the incident that led to the patient’s death, but chose to allow the physician to continue treating patients.
  • Although a doctor in Florida received an emergency suspension of hospital privileges when he posed an “immediate threat to the health or safety” of the patients he was treating, the Medical Board did not revoke his license to practice medicine.
  • In California, a physician surrendered his license after multiple misconduct violations and suspended privileges at hospitals. No formal action was taken by the Medical Board against his medical license.

These statistics support the contention that physicians with questionable professional pasts are still practicing medicine. As a result, even patients who take precautions could be at risk for injury.

Medical misconduct in New York

Patients who are concerned their physician committed medical malpractice or misconduct in New York are encouraged to file a complaint with the Office of Professional Medical Conduct. Examples of qualifying acts of misconduct can include negligence, practicing while impaired by alcohol or drugs, filing a false report or ordering excessive tests.

Once received, the complaint is investigated. If evidence is found to substantiate the claim, it is presented to an investigation committee. This can lead to a hearing, dismissal of the claim or warning to the physician. If the investigation results in a hearing various punishments could be issued. These penalties can include revocation of the physician’s license, reprimand or fine.

If a patient is injured due the negligent or reckless actions of a medical professional, compensation may be available to help cover the cost of medical and rehabilitative care. Those who suspect they were the victim of medical malpractice or a medical error should contact an experienced New York medical malpractice personal injury attorney to discuss their situation and better ensure their legal rights are protected.