As healers, doctors are trusted and respected members of American society. We literally put our lives in doctors’ hands, trusting them with intimate details so they can understand and cure what ails us. Because of this trust, it is expected that doctors who are careless, negligent or otherwise a danger to patients, are disciplined and not allowed to pose any further danger to those that rely on them.
When one state disciplines or suspends a doctor’s license to protect the patients of that state, it would only make sense that all other states in which the doctor is licensed would take similar action to protect its own patients. Dangerously, however, this isn’t always the case with Connecticut, according to the New Haven Independent.
A review by the New Haven Independent found that “Connecticut often takes no action against doctors who are disciplined” in other states, specifically the neighboring states of Rhode Island, New York and Massachusetts. Further, the review found that when Connecticut takes disciplinary action against a doctor, those same neighboring states are quick to impose restriction and disciplinary action against the doctor. It is for good reason these states do what Connecticut often fails to do – protect the public from potentially negligent doctors by not allowing disciplined doctors to simply move from one state to another and continue practicing medicine without restriction.
In fact, when disciplinary action is taken against a doctor in one state, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) notifies all of the other state medical boards in which a doctor is licensed within 24 to 48 hours about the disciplinary action – with the purpose of not allowing the doctor to go from state to state.
The problem in Connecticut appears to be that the state medical board cannot just accept the rulings and finding of other states as fact. William Gerrish, a Connecticut Department of Public Health spokesman, states that “reciprocal actions are difficult and time-consuming, under existing state policy” because Connecticut must re-examine each and every case from out of state. A proposal to change the current system to accept the findings of other states medical licensing boards “as true” is currently before the state Legislature.
If you are curious about whether your physician has ever been disciplined, visit The State of Connecticut eLicensing Website at www.elicense.ct.gov. The website provides information as to the status of a doctor’s license and notes if there are any pending or existing disciplinary charges against the physician.
If you have been injured by a careless or reckless physician, contact a medical malpractice attorney in your area to discuss your situation and legal options.