The Chicago Tribune published a new story that reports on the troubling standards state regulators use to ensure doctors do not abuse patients. In particular, the newspaper noted the meager oversight and slow investigations that plague the state department’s ability to monitor allegations of sexual misconduct by abusive doctors.
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is tasked with investigating complaints filed by patients against their doctors. However, the agency is notoriously slow at actually conducting the investigation and reprimanding doctors found to have engaged in some sort of misconduct. On top of that, once doctors are reprimanded, the agency does little to ensure that the doctor does not reoffend. A key problem is the lack of resources at the department’s disposal. A staff of only 3 people manages over 7,500 licensed individuals in the state who have committed some violation. Another concern is that the maintenance of the records for all of these violations appears to be an unorganized mess.
For example, one downstate doctor was officially disciplined in 1999 for telling a patient that she should have sex with him as part of her therapy. However, it took 8 years for the paperwork regarding his probation to be sorted through.
In another case, a doctor charged with sexually fondling a patient was placed on probation with the caveat that he never treat a female patients without someone else in the office. However, his probation is never actually monitored. He has been visited by a probation officer only once, and the chaperone requirement is enforced only on “the honor system”
It is the business of our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Levin & Perconti to fight for the rights of patients who have suffered because of medical misconduct. It is imperative that the state of Illinois department officials also make it their business to ensure that victimized patients are protected. There is no excuse for not following through on punishments and abiding by state regulations when it comes to medical violations. We urge all those who have suffered at the hands of these doctor abuses to contact a medical malpractice lawyer immediately.