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Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP

Doctors Still Practice Medicine Despite Having Committed Malpractice

A review of the action taken by the Texas Medical Board over medical malpractice by Dr. Greggory Phillips exposes the fact that many doctors across the country are still practicing medicine despite having committed serious acts of medical malpractice.

Dr. Phillips is no longer allowed to practice medicine in Texas, but it took several years for the Texas Medical Board to make the decision. During this time, two women died as a result of improper medication prescribed by the doctor.

The decision was the final act after many years of sanctions imposed on the doctor for prescribing the wrong medications or the right medications in the wrong doses, as well as a variety of other medical errors of judgment. Over the 10 years during which the doctor was still allowed to practice, the boarded issued him fines of several thousand dollars, put his license to practice medicine under probation and restricted his ability to issue prescriptions.

The first woman to die as the result of prescription errors was Debra Horn, a mother of two children. She died as a result of a drug overdose prescribed by Phillips when he was working for the North Hills Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas. While the Board did put limits on his ability to prescribe medications as a result of this tragedy, these restrictions were soon lifted.

A second woman, Jennifer Chaney, died from a lethal mix of toxic medications less than a year later.

These two deaths were the most serious results of Dr. Phillips’ medical malpractice. But there were numerous cases demonstrating his lack of due diligence concerning medication prescriptions, which should have been enough to alert the Texas Medical Board sufficiently to prevent these two deaths.

Phillips had previously been reprimanded for pre-signing prescriptions and leaving them in the hands of a nurse while he was unavailable to see a patient. The nurse would have been unqualified to make any decision about what medications should have been prescribed.

Cases like the Phillips case are certainly not confined to Texas.

There are thousands of physicians across the country who have been allowed to maintain their practice even though they have been found to have committed serious acts of medical malpractice. They may have already have been barred by hospitals or other medical institutions and paid out thousands of dollars in compensation as a result of personal injury lawsuits, but have retained their licenses.

In the 10  years to 2011, over 6,000 of the nation’s 608,000 licensed doctors were dismissed from hospitals for medical errors, but only half of them ever had their licenses revoked by state medical boards. The doctors who retained their licenses were effectively free to make the same mistakes – and cause harm or even death to their patients – again and again.

There is no one clear reason why many, if not all, state medical boards are reluctant to revoke the licenses of physicians who have been found to have been involved in serious medical errors of judgment.

Commentators have said that much of the problem lies in the inability of the peer-review committees in the hospitals to come to an appropriate decision against one of their own doctors.

Whatever the reason, there remain a lot of doctors out there who have been known to have made seriously flawed medical decisions and yet you may have unwittingly allowed your health and life to be entrusted to them.

If you, or a member of your family, have been affected by medical malpractice or negligence of any kind then you should contact Richard S. Jaffe Esq. at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP. Richard Jaffe is an experienced medical malpractice attorney. You can contact him for a free consultation at the Law Offices of Cohen & Jaffe LLP, 2001 Marcus Avenue, Suite W295, Lake Success, NY 11042. Phone: 516-358-6900 or toll free: 800-483-6149.

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