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:
- Roger Goodell in Cahoots with the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine?
- How to be an Authentic Doctor #21: The Board is Not Your Friend
- Notes from Your Licensing Board