Choosing not to discipline gross misconduct of these bad apples brings down the good work that most physicians provide to us, thus lowering the health care standards to the detriment of everyone. As Public Citizen reports, 459 Physicians Have Been Sanctioned by Texas Hospitals and Other Health Care Institutions But Not Disciplined by the State Medical Board:
Fifty-eight percent of Texas doctors who have been sanctioned for serious offenses by health care entities, mainly hospitals, over the past two decades have never been disciplined by the state medical board. This shows that the state must do a much better job to protect patients from such dangerous doctors, Public Citizen told Gov. Rick Perry today.
Some facts contained in the report regarding the severity of the offenses of the 459 doctors who escaped board sanctions include:
• Many of the physicians were disciplined by hospitals and other health care institutions because they were deemed an immediate threat to the health and safety of patients, incompetent or negligent, they committed sexual misconduct or insurance fraud, they abused drugs or alcohol, or they provided substandard care to patients.
• A quarter of the 459 physicians have been sanctioned by health care facilities more than once.
• Nearly half of the 459 physicians had one or more medical malpractice reports.
One of these physicians had clinical privileges restricted by a peer review committee in 2010 for substandard care. The physician had 11 medical malpractice payments between 1993 and 2011 for a total payout of $2.1 million, the reasons for which included: failure to diagnose (four cases); improper performance (two cases); improper management (two cases); failure to treat; improper technique; and performing an unnecessary procedure. One of the cases involved the death of a patient.
“These violations are not minor,” said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. “In our investigation we’ve identified physicians who have committed gross breaches of medical and ethical standards, yet they have not been sanctioned by the state medical board, the institution whose primary duty is to make sure practitioners taking care of Texas patients are qualified to do so.”