Medical licenses are held to a high standard, and for good reason. The health and sometimes lives of people rely on those who practice medicine and their ability to give sound advice.
To that end, the Texas Board of Nursing has announced that they have suspended the license of a nurse practitioner “accused of failing to give appropriate assessments, misinterpreting or ignoring lab test results, and incorrectly diagnosing a patient, among other charges,” according to KFDM.
A nurse practitioner operating a clinic in Nederland called Optimum Medical Weight Control and Family Wellness is at the center of the issue. Some patients who have received care describe their treatment as involving hormone treatments that may have been related to later events of elevated heart-rates. Some of these patients have hired a lawyer and are pursuing a medical malpractice suit.
Represented among this party is the family of a man who died a year ago. The autopsy described external hormone treatments as a contributor to his death, care that his family’s lawyer says he was receiving at Optimum. In the midst of this, at least one local pharmacy opted to no longer fill prescriptions from the clinic.
According to the same lawyer, the pharmacist at King’s Pharmacy in Port Arthur grew concerned about the dosage amounts he was seeing in the prescriptions and decided not to continue accepting them. The nurse practitioner, meanwhile, claims he has done nothing wrong and that he had not been informed of any wrongdoing, aside from the initial alert that an investigation was being done by the Board of Health before his suspension.
Without all the facts, we cannot speak directly to the validity of this case, but we will be keeping an eye on what the court decides. In the meantime, it is important to consider how these things happen. The Texas Board of Health (BOH) has an extended system for studying cases before they suspend a license. When the BOH receives a complaint, they first decide whether it is under their jurisdiction or should be handled by another agency. If no violations are found, or the violations found are not covered by their jurisdiction, the BOH does not pursue an investigation.
Those that are found to be "jurisdictional" are then sent for a preliminary evaluation, which occurs within 45 days of the complaint and may involve contacting the licensee and the one who filed the complaint. From here, a case may be dismissed, referred to a remedial plan, or referred to a Quality Assurance panel. From here, further investigation and referrals may occur, and may proceed to an Informal Resolution. This includes a hearing in which the licensee may present their case and the claimant may be invited to attend. If the case has not been resolved by this point, a Formal Resolution may be issued, which includes the option of suspending a license.
The process is complicated, and each step includes options for the case to be dismissed. The state must be vigilant about public health, but it understands that inaccurate complaints may go far into their process. This is why it is important to have legal advice throughout the process, to understand where your case is and what options you have to defend yourself.
If your medical practice is under scrutiny by the Board of Health, or your license has been suspended, contact an experienced medical license defense lawyer today to learn how we can help.