Despite their experience and the amount of time they spent in school, medical professionals are still human and can occasionally screw up. However, when a doctor makes a mistake, the results tend to be more life-threatening than other positions. A botched surgery could leave someone disabled for the rest of their days and reliant on other treatments and operations. Some of these failures have resulted in doctors surrendering their medical license in the state. It can make some of the victims and their families feel better that the doctor will not endanger anyone else.
However, surrendering a medical license in one state doesn't stop a doctor from doing their job in another. A recent article by USA Today highlights just how many physicians continued to practice medicine after surrendering one of their state licenses and why it keeps occurring to this day.
Multiple medical mishaps
The article primarily focuses on a doctor who lost his licenses in Louisiana, California and New York before finally settling down in Ohio. All of these were due to various botched surgeries where he removed the wrong organs during the procedures. Whenever he was facing these accusations, he surrendered his license to avoid costly legal battles and moved on to the next state.
While his license surrenders in Louisiana and California were due to separate incidents, his New York revocation were a result of his actions in California. Despite his past, he claims to have a solid defense for his actions and the Ohio medical board has not take action against him. According to him, Ohio fully investigated all the cases and found no reason to suspend his license. The reason he surrendered and moved on so quickly from other states was to avoid legal costs and because he believes the system is rigged against doctors.
The paper also investigated to determine how many doctors went on to practice in other states after surrendering their medical licenses. They found potentially over 500 doctors did this and only a fraction were sent warning letters by the Food and Drug Administration, with only one of them getting disciplined by the state board. The reasons for doing so range from prescribing too many opioids to sexual misconduct with the patients. While some of these doctors faced more criminal charges than the main focus of the article, they were still allowed to keep their job.
While there's a chance that a sizable portion of these doctors did no wrong and just surrendered to avoid legal problems, there are likely still several professionals that got away with minimal damage to their finances and career just by moving to a different state. Attempting to surrender the license and move elsewhere does not make a doctor immune from a lawsuit. Those with loved ones who have suffered from a failed surgery should know what legal assistance they have on hand for medical malpractice.