Although healthcare professionals are licensed and regulated by the State of Ohio, that does not mean a patient injured due to medical malpractice can solely rely on regulators to take remedial action against negligent doctors. In practice, licensing deals with a much broader range of potential misconduct than medical malpractice. And even where, for instance, the State Medical Board of Ohio takes disciplinary action against a physician, that does not provide any financial compensation for patients who may have been injured due to prior acts of malpractice. It is up to the patients to seek relief through the court system.
Ohio Doctor Previously Surrendered Medical Licenses in California, Louisiana
Something else to consider: A physician may be in “good standing” with the State Medical Board despite prior malpractice problems in other states. A recent report published by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and USA Today highlighted the case of one Ohio physician who previously surrendered his license in at least three other states after facing malpractice allegations. These allegations included removing a healthy kidney during a planned colon operation and removing a healthy Fallopian tube that was somehow mistaken for an appendix.
As the Journal-Sentinel explained, doctors facing disciplinary charges from state medical boards often volunteer to surrender their license. This prevents the board from taking any further action. It also typically frees the doctor to move and begin practicing in another state without restriction.
Now, many state boards have the authority to suspend a doctor based on adverse licensing actions taken in other states. Indeed, the Ohio doctor cited in this report left New York after the licensing board there moved to discipline him based on his prior decisions to surrender licenses in California and Louisiana. But the Journal-Sentinel noted that such enforcement is “spotty” at best and that many state boards “don’t even search a national database of troubled physicians.”
More to the point, when a doctor surrenders a license, there is little public information disclosed about the original malpractice allegations. So patients in other states may be at risk of a doctor with a questionable history moves into their state. Altogether, the Journal-Sentinel found more than “250 doctors who surrendered a medical license were able to practice in another state.”
In the case of the Ohio doctor, the Journal-Sentinel said he is currently working for an urgent care facility in Cincinnati. A spokesman for the Ohio State Medical Board told the reporters it “would not say why the board has not taken action against him.” And because of the secrecy surrounding licensing matters, the Board could not disclose any complaints filed against the doctor.
For his part, the doctor told the Journal-Sentinel that he “always went by the textbook” went practicing medicine and did nothing wrong. The doctor insisted the decision to surrender his Louisiana and California medical licenses was based on his belief “that the system was rigged against him” and it would have cost too much to defend himself. The doctor added that “Ohio is the only state to fully investigate all the cases and it concluded that he should be allowed to practice,” although he acknowledged he was no longer performing surgeries.
Contact a Cleveland Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
When it comes to medical malpractice, you cannot rely on state authorities to seek justice on your behalf. You need to work with a qualified Cleveland medical negligence lawyer who will fight or you and your family. Contact Tittle & Perlmuter at (216) 308-1522 if you need help with a medical malpractice matter today. We serve clients in Cleveland, Lakewood, Elyria, Chardon, Sandusky and surrounding areas.