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Aggressive Disciplinary Action Has Chilling Effect on Practice of Medicine

When a doctor is faced with disciplinary action, aggressive medical license defense becomes necessary to try to protect his license and avoid adverse consequences. Unfortunately, sometimes the actions of state disciplinary boards are improper, as medical boards may sometimes aggressively go after people who have not really done anything wrong. Threat of facing disciplinary action can have a chilling effect on the practice of medicine, particularly for doctors in certain fields like pain management where there is ample room for accusations of wrongdoing to be made.  money-pharmacy-1538319

Doctor's Case Shows The Problem of Aggressive Disciplinary Action

Press of Atlantic City illustrates one of the big problems which can occur when accusations are made against doctors based on uncertain indicators of wrongdoing.

In this case, one of two local pain management specialists in a local county found himself fighting for his future. The doctor had practiced medicine between 1976 and 2007, and his practice had more than 1,300 patients at one point.

Unfortunately, he was accused of illegally prescribing pain medications to two undercover police officers who were posing as exotic dancers. Both he and his wife, who was a nurse in his practice, were indicted eight times but ultimately exonerated on all charges. His license to practice medicine had also been suspended and then revoked by the Board of Medical Examiners. He is seeking to get his license back and is suing the prosecutor's office in a civil lawsuit claiming malicious prosecution.

A spokesperson for the Board of Medical examiners indicated the Board acted appropriately in revoking his license and said the license won't be reinstated despite the fact the doctor was acquitted of all criminal charges. The spokesperson said the standard of proof is lower in disciplinary board cases than in criminal cases, and that the board had followed its protocols for reviewing evidence and suspending the doctor's license. However, the board had relied on flawed evidence collected by the prosecutor's office which purported to show the doctor had failed to take a complete medical history of the undercover officers before prescribing pain killers.

Doctors and friends of the physician who lost his license have claimed he has done nothing wrong and claimed the Board of Medical Examiners actions in light of questions about the accuracy of the prosecutor's evidence are making every doctor in the state afraid. The concern is the doctor had his license removed due to criminal charges before he was proven guilty, and now that he has been acquitted, the board is refusing to give his license back. The investigation is being described as misguided from the start, and the acts of the prosecutor and continued actions of the medical board are also being described as a miscarriage of justice.

When a physician's goal is to relieve pain, prescribing pain medication is often necessary- but many doctors are now afraid to prescribe appropriate medication because of the way the prosecutor and state board acted and are continuing to act in this particular case. Doctors should not be afraid to prescribe correct treatment out of fear of an overzealous medical board which doesn't reconsider decisions in light of problems with past evidence relied upon to suspend a license.

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Attorney Tony R. Bertolino is the Managing Partner with Bertolino LLP. Our Law Firm has been able to help people across the state of Texas through our offices in Austin, Houston and San Antonio. If you need an experienced lawyer to represent you, contact Bertolino LLP today.

Super Lawyers Rising Star American Bar Association Defending Liberty Pursuing Justice State Bar of Texas Pro Bono College Super Lawyers New York State Bar Association Houston Bar Association Austin Bar Association American Center for Law and Justice Law Firm 500 10.0Tony Ray Bertolino

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