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Dangerous Doctors

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By: Robert F. Geimer

According to an investigation by USA Today, thousands of doctors who have been found guilty of serious misconduct, including some who have been banned by hospitals and other medical facilities, have never been disciplined by state licensing authorities responsible for protecting patients from dangerous doctors.  The investigation by USA Today reporters Peter Eisler and Barbara Hansen found:

  • From 2001 to 2011, nearly 6,000 doctors had their clinical privileges restricted or taken away by hospitals or other medical facilities, but 52% - more than 3,000 doctors – never were fined or hit with a license restriction, suspension or revocation.
  • Nearly 250 of the worst offenders, doctors labeled an “immediate threat to health and safety,” never lost their licenses and are still practicing today.
  • Doctors with the worst malpractice records keep treating patients, though less than 1 in 5 faced any sort of disciplinary action.

This investigation highlights a serious threat to the general public.  “Do no harm” includes protecting patients from doctors who have already been found guilty of serious misconduct.  Our state licensing boards have to do a better job of taking action and not just standing by while more and more patients are injured or killed by dangerous doctors.

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