The Sacramento Bee recently described the complex process often used to police doctors and helps ensure that medical licenses are only given to those medical professionals competent enough to handle the job. The information is helpful in understanding how many doctors with a history of mistakes remain able to treat other patients.
With disciplinary actions piling on top of one another, taking years to sort through, many extremely negligent physicians are allowed to treat thousands of patients in the meantime. One victim complained to the state board about a doctor’s negligence that led to the death of her mother. However, the board was so slow in dealing with the matter that another patient died from the same doctor’s negligence while the board was still reviewing the first error.
Essentially there are often two categories of offenses that doctors can make: those that require automatic loss of license and those that do not. Automatic loss conduct includes only registered sex offenders and doctors who sexually exploit patients. Other than that, doctor misconduct is evaluated on a sliding scale. The vast majority of those other errors lead to reprimands or probation, without any limit on what patients they see or what operations they perform afterwards.
A concern, however, is that there is no policy in place to weed out those doctors who repeatedly make mistakes that on their own are not enough to cause a loss of license. In other words, there is no “three strikes” policy or even “five strikes” policy. For example, one doctor was placed on probation four times (two stemming from patient deaths) and had his license temporarily revoked, but he still practices and treats patients today.
Our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Levin & Perconti believe that like all professions, doctors should be held to the highest standards of care and conduct. Uniquely in the medical context, many of their mistakes can never be undone, because they literally involve the loss of human life. Because of the particular fragility of the victims under the circumstances, it is all the more important to ensure that the individuals allowed to practice medicine are of the highest caliber and quality.
Please Click Here to read more about the medical disciplinary review process.