Why are Dangerous Doctors Allowed to Continue Practicing?
Doctors are human beings who can make mistakes. But some doctors make mistakes over and over again. Other doctors engage in outright misconduct. These facts are supported by a USA Today article stating that, “Thousands of doctors are able to continue practicing despite records of serious misconduct that puts patients at risk. Many of those doctors have had their clinical privileges restricted or taken away by hospitals, HMOs and other health care institutions, but their state medical boards have taken no action against their licenses to practice.”
The question is, why? Why, when some doctors are known to continuously cause harm to their patients are they able to keep their licenses to practice medicine? The answer, is that state medical boards don’t stop doctors from practicing, even when they are sanctioned by hospitals.
Medical Boards Need to Step Up
There are many reasons medical malpractice occurs. Most of the time, the malpractice is simply negligence, the doctor learns a lesson and moves forward. But there are doctors abusing drugs, misusing prescriptions and hurting patients over and over again. A prime example is alleged by the USA Today to be Dr. Phillips. USA Today accuses Dr. Philips of abusing drugs, mismanaging medications, and finally, killing a young woman with the wrong prescription.
And yet, despite this, Dr. Philips still has his license. He is only not allowed to prescribe medications, and cannot “practice with individuals with disciplinary histories substantially similar to his, and must notify the Board of any future practice setting and obtain the Board’s approval for any future position.” A local newspaper called the punishment a “spanking.”
Doctors Who Repeatedly Mess Up Are Dangerous
Patients need to be protected from doctors who repeatedly engage in medical malpractice. The best way to do this is for medical boards to stop dangerous doctors from practicing. Period.