Doctor suspended in one state continues practicing in others

A doctor that works for the veteran’s administration and that has a license, among other states, in Pennsylvania, has a significant disciplinary history against him. And while his license was suspended in one state for purported medical malpractice, he was still allowed to continue practicing in another state.

Disciplinary records show that this doctor was recently suspended for operating on the wrong part of a patient’s spine. Apparently, a number of years ago similar surgical errors occurred as he operated on the wrong side of two separate patients’ spines.

It’s possible that the surgical mistakes came about due to the hospital not having proper procedures in place. Hospitals are to properly mark the sites for surgery. However, the fact that this has occurred on at least three different patients is extremely troubling.

What is equally concerning is the fact that this doctor never informed patients or family members of the errors that occurred. In at least a couple of these instances the doctor blamed the errors on improper markings. Still, even if there was a problem with the markings, this same doctor never double-checked to make certain that the surgery was performed correctly.

The fact that this doctor is still operating does suggest the difficulty that medical boards have in removing negligent doctors. Too often, boards in one state may not investigate complaints that occurred in another state.

Attorneys that practice in the medical malpractice area can nevertheless go after doctors for surgical mistakes or other errors – whether such doctors have or have not been disciplined by any governing board. Such attorneys can investigate the background of a doctor, and establish whether there has been a pattern of sloppy medical practice. Doctors should not be allowed to continue committing medical blunders since even one mistake can be devastating.

Source: Stars and Stripes, “Suspension doesn’t stop VA doctor from practicing,” by Colleen Heild, June 24, 2012