5 Ways To Lose Your Medical LicenseMedical Defense
In 1999, lawmakers in Texas gave the Texas Medical Board (TMB) the full authority to suspend or revoke the medical licenses it grants to medical doctors (MDs) and to doctors of osteopathy (DOs). Any patient, colleague, insurance company, government agency, or even a police agency may submit a complaint about a Texas doctor to the TMB.
If you are a doctor practicing in the state of Texas, and if the TMB contacts you about a complaint, speak at once with an experienced Pla medical license defense attorney who can help you understand your options and help you craft a strategy to defend your license to practice medicine.
The Texas Medical Board receives and reviews over 7,000 complaints a year. In June 2017 alone, the Texas Medical Board disciplined 61 licensed Texas physicians. A medical license can be lost for a variety of reasons. If a doctor writes unneeded prescriptions, practices medicine while under the influence, commits serious medical malpractice, or impersonates another doctor, that doctor might soon be looking for another line of work.
Here are five brief examples of doctors who have lost their medical licenses – and five examples of behavior that a doctor must avoid.
1. VIOLATING STATE LAWS
Lawrence Egbert, MD, was an advocate of physician-assisted suicide long before 2014, when the Maryland Board of Physicians (MBP) finally stripped him of his license to practice medicine. Dr. Egbert served as a medical director for the Final Exit Network, an international death-with-dignity organization. The problem was that physician-assisted suicide is not legal in the state of Maryland, but Dr. Egbert admitted to assisting with scores of suicides in that state over several decades. “It is undisputed that Dr. Egbert participated in six suicides in the state of Maryland as either a Senior Exit Guide or as a members-only exit guide,” the MBP concluded.
The MBP first accused Dr. Egbert of unprofessional conduct in 2012, launching a two-year legal fight over his medical license. When he was 87, in 2012, Dr. Egbert told the Washington Post, “There are some people who like to suffer — that there is a religious gain in suffering. I don’t believe that.” When Dr. Egbert’s medical license was revoked in 2014, Final Exit Network board member Frank Kavanaugh told WJLA News, “Doctors help people die everyday, they are just not as transparent about it.”
2. ISSUING UNNECESSARY PRESCRIPTIONS
Keng-cheong Leong, MD, a gynecologist in Maine since 1973, surrendered his medical license to Maine’s Board of Licensure in Medicine in 2014. Dr. Leong had been prescribing medical marijuana and OxyContin to male patients. Dr. Leong is now barred from practicing medicine in the state of Maine. The Board of Licensure found that Dr. Leong was not only handing out improper prescriptions, but he was also failing to conduct proper medical examinations.
The Maine Board of Licensure issued a press release which stated: “Dr. Leong admitted the board had sufficient evidence from which it could conclude that he engaged in unprofessional conduct, incompetent medical care, and that he violated the terms of his previous agreement,” a promise Dr. Leong made in 2011 to limit his medical practice exclusively to office-based gynecology.
3. PRACTICING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Twenty years after he had completed a three-year probation for “a history of chemical dependency,” osteopath William James Platt surrendered his medical license to Ohio’s State Medical Board in 2014 after the board found that “the doctor is impaired in his ability to practice according to acceptable and prevailing standards of care because of habitual or excessive use or abuse of drugs, alcohol or other substances that impair ability to practice.”
After Dr. Platt was hospitalized in 2013, the Ohio Medical Board received a number of complaints that the doctor seemed “at times under the influence of drugs or alcohol.” Dr. Platt also failed to properly document the medication samples that he stored in his office. When he received a diagnosis of opioid use disorder early in 2014, and he then failed to seek treatment, the Ohio Medical Board formally revoked Dr. Platt’s license to practice medicine.
4. PRACTICING MEDICINE NEGLIGENTLY
After 27 complaints were received by the Hawaii Medical Board regarding Dr. John Stover, a plastic surgeon and dentist in Hilo, the board revoked his medical license. One woman fell into a coma after Dr. Stover removed her wisdom teeth, and another patient died after a tooth extraction.
In one incident widely reported by Hawaii’s news media, Dr. Stover allegedly walked out – in anger – in the middle of a cosmetic surgery after first cutting into both of a patient’s eyelids. Brent Suyama, speaking for Hawaii’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, told KITV News “This is one of the most severe types of penalties which we can provide here.”
5. ENGAGING IN UNPROFESSIONAL BEHAVIOR
The charges heard by the Alabama State Board of Medical Examiners against Dr. Timothy Iliff and were quite serious. Dr. Iliff’s misconduct dates back to 1986, when Mississippi’s Board of Medical Examiners disciplined him for writing prescriptions that were not medically indicated. Dr. Iliff avoided a conviction at that time by agreeing to two years’ probation. In Alabama, from 2007 through 2009, Dr. Iliff allegedly had sexual contact with a patient and wrote prescriptions for that patient were not medically indicated. After an investigation, Dr. Iliff surrendered his medical license to the Alabama Medical Licensure Commission late in 2009.
The Alabama Medical Licensure Commission reinstated Dr. Iliff’s medical license in August 2012 after the doctor agreed to a treatment plan. In Texas as well as in Alabama, a revoked medical license does not have to mean the end of your medical career. However, if you fall under investigation by the Texas Medical Board, you must have the counsel of a Plano medical license defense attorney when you respond to the allegations against you.
If your license to practice medicine is being threatened, it is imperative for you to work with an attorney who has considerable experience defending medical licenses in Texas Medical Board proceedings and in State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) proceedings. You’ve worked hard for your license to practice, so if it’s at risk, you’ll need an experienced Plano medical license defense attorney who will work just as hard – for you.