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A License to Kill: State Medical Boards and Their Role in Medical Malpractice

Posted on in Medical Malpractice

medical negligence, illinois personal injury attorneyState medical boards may be responsible for overseeing the licensing and practice of physicians, but their responsibility, first and foremost, is to the public. Yet, when looking at the large number of doctors who have committed serious acts of abuse or medical negligence and still practicing medicine, it would seem that maybe the licensing boards have forgotten their role.

Doctors Behaving Badly

While studies have shown that only about one percent of all doctors are responsible for the majority of medical mistakes, that small portion has the potential to cause great harm. Their acts – sometimes sheer negligence or incompetence and others outright abuse (even to the point of criminal) – go undisclosed to the public and, in some cases, undisciplined.  Many are permitted to continue practicing, and their patients are usually none the wiser.

Take, for example, the orthopedic surgeon who was allegedly so inattentive that he fractured a man’s thigh bone. Or the cardiologist and family practice physicians that reportedly ordered more than 4 million doses of hydrocodone over the course of 15 months but, upon investigation, could account for only a small fraction of their drugs. Then there is the pediatrician who was allegedly so impaired by drugs that it hindered her ability to practice medicine safely, the psychiatrist reportedly caught drinking mid-shift, and the urologist who, while on call, was arrested for a DUI with a blood alcohol level of twice the legal limit. These doctors – these people who are treating you or your loved ones – are still practicing medicine.

Medical Boards Refuse to Make Doctor Infractions Public

Patients can, at any time, look up the licensing status of their physician. However, most are unaware that this resource is made available to them. Even those that do know of it may not find enough information to make an educated decision about whether or not their doctor is competent enough to adequately care for them or their loved ones. As a result, activist groups have proposed that doctors be required to disclose disciplinary actions (and their reasons) to patients. Patients also want the information made available to them. In fact, a recent poll found that 82 percent of all Americans favor the idea.

Unfortunately, state licensing boards have shot down any such proposals, saying it would compromise the doctor-patient relationship. The problem with this line of thinking is that it protects the doctor – not the public. So why would they make such compromises? One can only speculate, but some fear that licensing boards may have an ulterior motive. Or, at the very least, they have been compromised somehow and are trying to play both sides of the field. Whatever the reason, their inaction only further perpetuates the negligence and abuse of doctors and puts even more lives at risk.

Victim of Medical Malpractice? Our Experienced Attorneys Can Help

In a perfect world, the state licensing boards would ensure that negligent or abusive doctors are no longer allowed to harm patients. Justice and preventative action would prevail. Sadly, that world does not exist, and so someone must ensure that those who are injured or killed receive the justice they deserve. This is the role of an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

Backed by more than 75 years of combined experience, Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. represents and protects the rights and interest of those harmed by physicians. Committed to our clients, and our community as a whole, we fight to ensure justice is served and that families receive the compensation they deserve. To ask how we can help with your case, call 312-553-4900 and schedule a free initial consultation with our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys today.

Source:

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/health/doctors-and-hospitals/what-you-dont-know-about-your-doctor-could-hurt-you/index.htm

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