Physicians and License Revocation: Knowing When To Take The Case
The term ‘medical malpractice’ is arguably the most identifiable and often deployed catch phrase when medical industry negligence or misconduct comes to mind. That being said, a medical malpractice claim may only be the beginning of the troubles to come for the physician involved. In the most serious cases, a physician who has been accused of professional or personal misconduct could face license revocation.
What could provoke a medical board to revoke the license of a physician? This is a question that should be on an attorney’s mind, particularly if they have been hired to represent a physician who believes their license had been revoked unjustly. The best place to start looking for answers to this question is a physician’s code of ethics.
Beginning in 1847, the American Medical Association has published, maintained and updated the Code of Medical Ethics, a nine-chapter overview of ethical standards for a variety of situations and scenarios. In this document, the appropriate ethical standards for situations ranging from organ transplants to relationships with patients is discussed at length.
The AMA’s Code of Medical Ethics has become the de-facto standard by which the actions and behavior of physicians are judged. With that in mind, an ethical violation as determined by the Code of Medical Ethics will typically result in some form of punishment against the accused physician by their medical board.
Each physician is held accountable to their local state’s medical board. It is this organization which ultimately will decide whether or not punishment should occur and / or a license should be revoked. Be that as it may, questions may begin to emerge if a physician has their license revoked rather than merely being punished.
Because physicians are considered “servants” of the community, they are invariably held to a higher personal and professional standard than most individuals. This also means, however, that actions which occur outside of the workplace could have serious implications for their career. If a medical board initiates a license revocation against a physician, the attorney representing them should first assess whether or not their client was given due process and the necessary protections offered to medical and non-medical personnel alike under the law.
Attorneys should also carefully assess the personnel roster of the medical board in order to determine whether or not preexisting personal relationships between a board member and the physician could result in personal bias against their client.
In the event that a physician has demonstrated “moral turpitude” outside of the workplace, an attorney will need to assess how the actions of their client compared to the type of moral turpitude discussed in the Code of Medical Ethics and, similarly, the type of actions which previously may have resulted in the revocation of a license. If the attorney genuinely believes that the “punishment doesn’t fit the crime”, the best possible recourse is to review former suits and use this information to develop a case and opinion as to whether or not the current board is displaying some form of bias against the physician.
Of course, this type of defense won’t necessarily guarantee a positive outcome. That being said, it remains the most effective method for determining whether or not a physician is justified in filing suit.
DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.