Get a Lawyer

This is a warning to every physician: if the Board comes knocking then pay the BEST lawyer you can to represent you.  I have a long story that happened to me as an intern in residency.  A patient complained that I did not order a test for blood in her stool.  Simple, right?  Well, it was her first visit with me and after an hour of multiple symptoms, we had to do more on follow-up.  And remember, I am an intern.  Oh, and she never said she had blood in her stool. It was later found in a checklist amongst 70 other complaints.  Long story short, she got a colonoscopy and everything was normal. She then started to write psychotic letters to my residency and then the Board.  Bizarre.  I received a letter that I had to go to a meeting for the Board but my director said it is nothing and that I don’t need representation.  The lady showed up and proceeded to frighten everyone there with her psychosis. It didn’t matter. They put me on a “probation” period whereupon this would add to any sentence in the future if I screwed up again.  Screwed up?   I could not believe what a sham this was.  This was 20 years ago.

This story here sounds too ludicrous to be true but I believe it because of my experience. This doctor lost everything and it feels like a nightmare when you read it.  She goes on to say:

I have learned over these months that countless other unwary practitioners have been victims of the same disciplinary fervor. I know now that, to keep their licenses, most of these physicians will submit to what’s demanded of them and they will stay silent to protect their reputations. I, however, was physically, emotionally and financially unable to submit to my Board’s final demand. As a result, I lost everything professionally. I have nothing to lose by speaking out.

My colleagues need to know that if a Board investigator contacts you, you must immediately contact your lawyer. Unlike in a civil case, Boards can presume you’re guilty and ignore exculpatory evidence. Unlike in a criminal case, Boards don’t have to advise of your civil rights because you don’t have any. They can coerce you into medically unnecessary treatment, rob you of your personal freedom, publicly defame you and deprive you of your livelihood, all with complete impunity.

If you learn nothing else from me then learn this: get a lawyer if the board wants you to come in!

Here are just some of the stories I have done about this before:


Want to be reminded of some of our controversial, entertaining and motivational articles?  Just sign up here. We don’t give your email out and we don’t spam you.)

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  10 comments for “Get a Lawyer

  1. David
    March 14, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    One of my young partners was an IT guy before going into medicine. When he moved to my state and applied for licensing, he discovered the board licensing website was insecure and that it was a simple matter to access any doctors licensing applications. He reported his discovery directly to the board. Instead of thanking him, they accused him of impropriety, and investigated him. The psychologist on the board ‘diagnosed’ him with ‘boundary issues’ and they mandated he see a shrink (had one visit, was told he was fine). The board gave him a nine month probationary license that made it hard to get insurance contracts and a created significant financial burden. He was eventually allowed to have a full license. He’s a skilled physician and normal guy.

  2. Richard B. Willner
    March 14, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    In 2000, I founded The Center for Peer Review Justice when I saw the severe and chronic abuse of one very well trained podiatric surgeon by the North Dakota Board of Podiatric Medicine. This surgeon had filed 6 separate lawsuits against that Board over the years, only to lose at each one. He reported that he spent $500,000 in total. I became aware of him when he wrote an email to the profession and I was curious and offered to help if I was able. Well, he sent to me 18 inches and 29 lbs of paper and I first skimmed it, then read it in detail. I saw no reason why there was anything wrong with him. I decided to help this doc who was literally down and out, and over time, I fought agency and everyone in my way. I ultimately was responsible for the “resignation” of every member of that state licensing board. Took me 3 years, 2000-2003. Remember that Board Members have strict immunity. Over 18 years, I can say that the evidence reveals that I have never seen any State Licensing Board ever get it completely right, and I have never seen a Board ever correct a mistake, however obvious. Listen to Authenticmedicine as the advice is quite Authentic.

    Richard B. Willner
    The Center for Peer Review Justice

  3. March 14, 2018 at 11:47 am

    I have never understood how licensing boards (including medical boards) are created by state legislatures which then let them operate politically without any oversight. More puzzling is why news organizations and investigative reporters have never covered this. Real malpractice often never goes beyond the confines of large medical corporations while independent physicians are easy targets without large corporate fortress walls around them.

    • Richard B. Willner
      March 14, 2018 at 10:59 pm


      The defense given by the State Licensing board is “Baaaaad Doctor”. “Do you want to be treated by a Baaaaaad Doctor?”

      And, the citizens and even the physicians on the committees who never take a real interest in the charges, believe that crap.

      Or the hospital administration will whisper in his ear, “You are next…”

      Sorry to present the reality of the State Licensing Boards as well as the Hospitals when there is a Sham Peer Review with NPDB ( Data Bank) or Physician Peer Review Fraud.

      We invite you to learn more about it…..

      Richard B. Willner
      The Center For Peer Review Justice.

  4. Scribe
    March 12, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    The same happens with dentists, particularly brand shiny new ones just out of school. The board wants to decrease competition within their state and thus makes passing the board exams next to impossible. My husband, now retired, graduated from one of the more prestigious schools in the country. Passed Virginia boards without a hitch. California boards were another story. He was positive though that he had performed well but nonetheless was given a failing grade on one section, sufficient to fail the full exam. When he tried to appeal it he was given a description of why his work didn’t make the cut. Two out of 3 board-certified dentists had to check his work and okay it. The first examiner passed it. The second examiner said he carved away too much tooth structure, and the third examiner said he didn’t carve away enough tooth structure. Because two of the three failed him, even for precisely opposite reasons, they denied his appeal.

    For years Hawaii’s board exam was notoriously biased towards locals only. When the Army began a requirement that their dentists hold at least one state license, most of the dentists stationed in Hawaii found it easiest to take the closest board exam and every single one flunked except for one who had grown up in Hawaii. The Army successfully sued the state board and won. After that they instituted a double-blind examination procedure where they wouldn’t know who submitted what work. For a few years things were fairly liberal – if you graduated from a decent school you could pass the exam. But then they decided there was too much competition and just started flunking everyone. I’m not sure if things are still that way, but it was notoriously true through at least the 1990s.

  5. Chris
    March 12, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    I have to say that my experience with medical boards is the opposite in that I have seen many physicians that have grossly violated professional ethics and duty, some repeatedly, and they are let off with a slap on the wrist. This unprofessional behavior usually revolves around having sex with patients or using/selling/trading controlled substances or some combination of both. I also point out the obvious that prescribing xanax to yourself is like playing with fire although our government has gone a little insane with making things controlled substances (Kentucky just made gabapentin a controlled substance and I have yet to heard of anyone abusing Onfi).

  6. Pat
    March 12, 2018 at 8:09 am

    The day you get “MD” or “DO” behind your name, you get a bull’s eye tattooed on your back. Any talk of patients or the public trusting physicians is belied by how many different ways it targets them. It’s depressing.

  7. Thomas Guastavino
    March 12, 2018 at 8:00 am

    I learned the hard way that the best defense is a good offense. If you can’t trust the person who has power over you, find something over them. For example, I did not get along with one hospitals CEO. I just cataloged a list of hospital discretions and threatened to report them if the CEO did anything to me.
    And despite what attorneys tell you, if you were sued with a bogus case, threatening to countersue plaintiffs attorney does work. These clowns back off when they have something to lose.

  8. Michael
    March 12, 2018 at 7:46 am

    Taken at face value, everything afterwards was a series of out-of-proportion responses. However, her problems DID start with ordering a bottle of Xanax from a distributor and giving it to herself.

    • Thomas Guastavino
      March 12, 2018 at 8:03 am

      It goes without saying that you never give your enemy a weapon to use against you.

Comments are closed.