Thousands Of Doctors Practicing Despite Errors, Misconduct

Mari Robinson, executive director of the Texas Medical Board, says, "There's no question that Dr. Phillips had (practice) violations; the question is what authority does the board have to act once those are found out. We want something to happen and we want it as quickly as it can happen. But the system isn't always set up for that. ... That can be frustrating."(Photo: Erich Schlegel for USA TODAY)

Mari Robinson, executive director of the Texas Medical Board, says, “There’s no question that Dr. Phillips had (practice) violations; the question is what authority does the board have to act once those are found out. We want something to happen and we want it as quickly as it can happen. But the system isn’t always set up for that. … That can be frustrating.”(Photo: Erich Schlegel for USA TODAY)

USA Today:

A USA TODAY investigation shows that thousands of doctors who have been banned by hospitals or other medical facilities aren’t punished by the state medical boards that license doctors.

Dr. Greggory Phillips was a familiar figure when he appeared before the Texas Medical Board in 2011 on charges that he’d wrongly prescribed the painkillers that killed Jennifer Chaney.

The family practitioner already had faced an array of sanctions for mismanaging medications — and for abusing drugs himself. Over a decade, board members had fined him thousands of dollars, restricted his prescription powers, and placed his medical license on probation with special monitoring of his practice.

They also let him keep practicing medicine.

In 2008, a woman in Phillips’ care had died from a toxic mix of pain and psychiatric medications he had prescribed. Eleven months later, Chaney died.

Yet it took four more years of investigations and negotiations before the board finally barred Phillips from seeing patients, citing medication errors in those cases and “multiple” others.

Read the whole story at USA Today

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