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Critics question medical boards' commitment to patient safety

When doctors make mistakes, they put their patients' lives at risk. New York's and other state medical boards has an important role to play in making sure doctors are performing their duties, but critics say the medical boards are letting too many medical mistakes happen without the doctor losing their license.

The state medical board has many important roles. It licenses medical doctors, investigates complaints regarding the doctors, disciplines doctors who violate their medical roles and refers physicians to evaluation and rehabilitation and evaluation when appropriate. There have been several instances in New York and across the United States where the state medical board's decisions have been questioned.

A Long Island doctor who overprescribed painkillers, leading to the death of two patients, still has his medical license. Although he is facing 20 years in prison, is in custody and is not registered to practice medicine, he still has his license. In addition, doctors who have lost their license in other states may just be able to travel to another state and be able to practice medicine again. An investigation showed that between 2011 and 2016 at least 500 doctors were able to wipe their slate clean and practice in another state after having been disciplined by another state's medical board.

It is frightening for patients to think that their doctor may have made a medical mistake that should have cost them their medical license. If a person believes they have suffered an injury because of a medical mistake they may want to speak with an attorney who specializes in medical malpractice. An attorney can review medical records and consult with medical experts in determining what happened to cause the injury. Compensation may be available for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages.

Medical boards have an extremely important role in patient safety. When doctors are able to fall through the cracks and continue to practice medicine even after making egregious errors, more patients can suffer serious injuries and even death.

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