The Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners states on its website that it is “responsible for protecting the public’s health and safety by determining qualifications of applicants for licensure, enforcing the medical practice act through the rule making process and by disciplining licensees who do not follow the rules or adhere to generally accepted standards of practice. Physicians and certain other health care professionals fall under the jurisdiction of the Board.” The Board is made up of ten medical doctor members and meets ten times each year. Source
There were 16,756 licensed physicians in Louisiana during 2010 (an increase of 396 from 2009), of which 11,750 were practicing in-state. The Board took a total of 130 actions against physicians in 2010, up from 98 in 2009 and 90 in 2008. There were 25 loss of license or licensed privileges during 2010, down from 36 in 2009. In addition, there were 73 restrictions of licenses or restrictions on licensed privileges, up from 35 in 2009. There were a total of 101 physicians with actions taken against them by the Board in 2010, up from 81 in 2009.
As an example of a recent disciplinary action taken by the Board, on October 26, 2011 the Board suspended the medical license of a doctor for failing to pay child support (on the next day, October 27, 2011, the Board reinstated the doctor’s medical license when proof of payment of the outstanding child support obligation made the day before was received by the Board). Source This same doctor had been subject to Board disciplinary actions due to his alleged use of controlled substances and/or mood-altering substances, including a December 14, 2009 Consent Order, and his license had been reinstated on probation at the time of the current Board action). Source
Ten days earlier (on October 17, 2011), the Board took disciplinary action against another medical doctor when it lifted a prior license suspension and reinstated the doctor’s medical license on an indefinite probationary basis. Source (In 1998, this doctor’s medical license had been summarily suspended for violating the terms of a five-year Substance Abuse Treatment Contract. In 2003, the doctor entered into a consent order in which the doctor was subjected to a five year monitoring contract, was placed on five years probation, and required the doctor to abstain from use of alcohol and mood-altering substances for the rest of his life. On April 14, 2008, the Board issued an Order of Suspension based on a report that the doctor had failed to remain abstinent from the use of alcohol or mood-altering substances. A Consent Order entered into on April 18, 2008 provided that the doctor’s medical license would continue on suspension for two years but stayed all but six months of the suspension and placed the doctor’s medical license on probation for ten years with the doctor being required to remain completely and totally abstinent from alcohol and mood-altering substance use for life. On April 4, 2010, the doctor’s medical license was suspended as a result of a report received three days earlier that the doctor allegedly had consumed alcohol (the doctor subsequently admitted to his use of alcohol on at least one occasion).) Source
We rely on the clear-headed and determined thinking and actions of our doctors in diagnosing and treating our minor ailments and complaints but also in diagnosing and treating serious medical conditions that may lead to permanent disability or even death if not treated timely and properly. Doctors who abuse alcohol or abuse controlled substances or mood-altering drugs threaten not only their own well-being but also the health and well-being of their patients. While medical boards rightfully take into consideration the effect that their disciplinary ations may have on doctors’ medical licenses, their primary responsibility and goal must be to protect the public from doctors whose professional abilities and competency may be compromised by their improper use of alcohol or their ingestion of mood-altering substances.
If a doctor in Louisiana or in another state in the United States has negligently caused injuries or death, visit our website to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may be able to assist you in bringing a medical malpractice claim for your losses. You may also contact us toll free at 800-295-3959.
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