By: Donna Devita
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Is Your Doctor Banned?
Bad doctors who surrender their license to save their reputations may still be practicing medicine. An investigation published by MedpageToday last November revealed that hundreds of physicians who have surrendered their license in one state are simply moving to another to start over with a clean slate and unknowingly putting more patients in danger.
Is Your Doctor Banned?
It’s always been recommended that you do your research on your doctor to make sure they are licensed in your state. But now it might be necessary to check across stateliness. More than 250 actively practicing doctors were found to have surrendered their medical licenses in other states prior to their current position, according to the MedPage Today investigation using data from TruthMd- a private firm that collects from thousands of sources on physicians nationwide. Out of the cases found:
- many faced disciplinary action that patients can’t access
- 73 doctors had warning letters sent out by the FDA about their conduct
- a third only had to change their address to get a clean license
- a third did not have to provide public disclosure or practice with limitations
In an additional study using the data from TruthMd between 2011 to 2016, more than 500 doctors were found to have been disciplined in one state, yet practicing with a clean slate in another. Unfortunately, these numbers are conceived to be far higher than what has been reported.
Doctors who continue using negligence and poor quality medical practices are putting patients across the country at risk of serious or even fatal medical errors. So how are these physicians getting away with it?
How Bad Doctors Cheat The System
Doctors who have been accused of medical malpractice due to negligence, medical errors, or other ethical violations must have their records available for patients and prospective patients to view. If a doctor loses his or her license involuntarily, this information also becomes available for those who wish to find it.
Medical licenses that are voluntarily surrounded, however, are not granted public access and this is where bad doctors are sliding through. Rather than wait for their license to be revoked for poor quality care, doctors are instead choosing to voluntarily surrender their license to avoid consequences such as:
- a negative reputation
- a hearing before the state medical board
- the time it takes to go through the process of fighting for their license
- the expenses associated with the process
Without these consequences, most doctors are free to change their address and practice with a new clean license in another state, even though states have the ability to take action against them. Some states even make it easier for doctors to start over by neglecting to check the national database at all before issuing new licenses to applying physicians.
Why A Medical License Would Be Revoked
Medical licenses are not revoked from physicians on a whim. According to the Connecticut Physician Licensure Statue, a doctor in danger of losing their license in our state has met one or more of the qualifications that could put patients in severe danger:
- physical illnesses, loss of motor skills, or deterioration through age
- emotional or mental illnesses preventing them from properly practicing
- abuse or excessive use of drugs and/or alcohol.
- using illegal, incompetent or negligent practices of medicine
- misusing prescriptions
- misrepresenting themselves and their license
- failing to supervise a physician assistant
- posing a threat to the health and safety of any person
Other unprofessional conduct that could result in the loss of a medical license defined by the Federation of State Medical Board include:
- patient physical, emotions, psychological, or sexual abuse
- failing to meet standards of care
- being dishonest
- improperly keeping records
- delegating tasks to unlicensed individuals
- prescribing too many drugs or without a diagnosis
- being convicted of a felony
- failing to take continuing education courses
How To Research On Your Doctor
You are your own best health advocate. Making sure you are doing thorough research on your doctor before you trust them with your medical care is crucial to your health and safety. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Check licensing in all states: You don’t have to be a resident of a state to look at a physician’s license history by going to http://www.fsmb.org/contact-a-state-medical-board. If you cannot find your doctor in any state- find a new doctor.
- Google your doctor: Patients who are disappointed in the care they receive or seeking justice for negligence do not always stay quiet. Google your doctor to find any reviews or press that indicate their reputation is worse than they claim.
- Ask directly: Asking your doctor directly about his or her medical background and whether they have had their licensed suspended or revoked could give you some insight based on how they respond.
- Check with staff: Nurses, aides, and office staff are great resources for getting the perception of someone who directly works with the doctor. If they notice red flags now, there could be more.
Keeping CT Patients Safe
Patients should be doing their due diligence to ensure a doctor is appropriate for their care, but states must do a better job of preventing negligent and dangerous doctors from getting new licenses. It is not the responsibility of a patient to issue and suspend licenses of physicians, nor it is their job to monitor current and past cases of malpractice that could lead to fatal consequences.
If you or loved one has sustained an injury or illnesses due to medical malpractice, our expert team of medical malpractice attorneys is here to fight back for you. Contact Jacobs & Wallace today for a free case review to review your options for justice.