Archive for April, 2017

Should My Doctor Lose His/Her Medical License? What Types Of Medical Malpractice Ought To Be Reported To Disciplinary Authorities?

By admin

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

One of my clients recently lost her husband to the needless, excessive prescription of narcotics.  She was asked to testify by a prosecution team investigating the doctor for a pattern of alleged over-prescribing of CDS.  A victim can easily become confused about how the civil and criminal justice systems seek to redress wrongful conduct on the part of medical providers.  For the victims of substandard medical or nursing care, the best way to chart the appropriate course is to consult with an attorney experienced in the field of medical malpractice.

Opioid addiction is in the news nationwide and especially in New Jersey.  On 3/1/17, New Jersey’s attorney general announced that a record number of our state’s physicians were disciplined in 2016.  Disciplinary action against doctors last year reached a record pace.

In large part, this phenomenon was the result of sanctions against 31 physicians charged with over-prescribing painkillers and other potentially addictive narcotic drugs.  This type of discipline can mean a revocation, suspension or other restriction upon the doctors charged.  The indiscriminate prescribing of controlled dangerous substances (CDS) is an issue which has reached the front pages in the Garden State.  New Jersey’s Consumer Affairs Division operates a State Board of Medical Examiners.  That board carried out the attorney general’s disciplinary measures.

There are many circumstances of medical negligence which give rise to a potential lawsuit.  Still other medical negligence events are better handled through the State Board of Medical Examiners.  Some medical malpractice conduct warrants both a lawsuit and a board investigation.  Examples of medical malpractice, which may implicate a civil lawsuit include, but are not limited to the following:

 

*   Failure to immediately refer patient to retinal surgeon, resulting in diminished vision

*   Failure to immediately diagnose and treat severed tendon

*   Undiagnosed heart disease

*  Undiagnosed cancer

*  Undiagnosed cauda equina syndrome

*  Undiagnosed blood clot, leading to preventable pulmonary embolism

*  Negligently administered anesthesia

*  Negligence during childbirth

*  Surgical equipment, including sponges, carelessly left inside patient

*   Mistakes involving wrong medication

*  Inaccessible medical records as a result of unsatisfactory database back-up, causing serious consequences

*  Operating room negligence causing burns

*  Dropping of surgical patient during transport in hospital

*  Failure to properly treat infection causing organ or tissue damage

 

For those matters which do not translate into a viable medical malpractice case, the patient may want to consider lodging a complaint with the State Board of Medical Examiners.  The necessary forms in which to file a compaint can be found at the following link:

http://www.nj.gov/lps/ca2/bme/complaintform/complaints.htm

Such complaints are investigated by the board in a confidential manner.  If the attorney general identifies the consumer’s complaint as one in which an enforcement action should be initiated, documents supplied by the consumer could be utilized as evidence.  Likewise, the consumer may be needed to testify.

Ultimately, my client, suddenly widowed, was able to chart the right course for her family.  The criminal justice system and the civil justice system made sense to her precisely because she received legal advice early on.  Discipline upon the doctor’s professional license and a civil remedy was exacted upon the physician in the appropriate measures.