In an unexpected and much needed demonstration of support for patients and attorneys who represent patients harmed by medical errors and malpractice, lawmakers overseeing the Medical Board of California this week threatened to dissolve the agency unless it “shows significant progress” in protecting patients from dangerous doctors.
Over the past decade, at least since I’ve been a doctor, I’ve repeatedly been appalled by the lack of efficacy and efficiency of the Medical Board, so it’s nice to see that others—and not only average Joe’s, but those with real authority to effect change—have finally taken note.
In a letter from State Senator Curren Price and Assemblyman Richard Gordon to Medical Board President Sharon Levine, the lawmakers called on the board to be more aggressive in monitoring the state’s 100,000-plus physicians, citing an investigative report that detailed multiple cases in which doctors continued to practice despite having prescribed drugs to multiple patients who fatally overdosed. In some instances, the deaths occurred while the doctor was under investigation by the board and the inquiry dragged on for months or years.
This new development is a welcome change for all consumers, patients, and patient advocates alike. Much like attorneys, accountants, and other professional service providers are held to a cognizable standard of practice which is strictly monitored by the watchful eye of, for example, the State Bar of California, doctors too must be held to such a standard not only by patient advocates and their attorneys but by the regulatory body that governs all physicians in California.
Bradley I. Kramer, MD, Esq.