The case of an award-winning Texas doctor who was arrested for domestic abuse is a cautionary tale for doctors around the country about the devastating effects involvement in domestic violence incidents can have on their careers.
The Texas Medical Board had previously disciplined prominent Plano ophthalmologist Dr. David Stager multiple times for incidents involving substance abuse and a domestic dispute before he was arrested for domestic violence. The board determined that Dr. Stager's continued practice of medicine posed a threat to the public and suspended his medical license.
Doctors who are involved in domestic violence incidents should not assume that the incidents are personal matters that have no bearing on their medical careers.
State Medical Boards Will Investigate and Discipline Doctors Involved in Domestic Violence Incidents
Doctors around the country risk losing their medical licenses for involvement in domestic violence incidents, even though these incidents typically occur in physicians' private lives. This is because state medical boards exist to protect the public and will generally investigate and discipline doctors who engage in any “unprofessional conduct.” This applies whether the doctor has been accused of domestic violence, is arrested or convicted of domestic violence, or pleads guilty to charges of domestic violence.
In Texas, in addition to behavior that constitutes “unprofessional conduct,” a doctor's commission of any offense in which assault or battery is attempted or committed and misdemeanors involving “moral turpitude” are grounds for investigation and discipline by the state medical board.
In Oregon, there are 27 specific grounds for physician discipline or denial of a license to practice medicine. Substance abuse, negligence, and conviction of a crime are some, and admitting to allegations that violate state standards are all grounds for discipline. In addition, “unprofessional conduct" is also named and would likely include domestic violence.
The California state medical board receives notification of doctors' arrests, convictions, and guilty pleas and determines whether and to what extent they will discipline the doctor involved. In addition, under California law, the conviction of an offense that is substantially related to the duties, functions, or qualifications of a doctor constitutes “unprofessional conduct” that the board will investigate and potentially punish.
Doctors Involved in Domestic Violence Incidents Face Severe Consequences
Doctors involved in domestic violence incidents run the risk of being severely disciplined by their state medical boards. License suspension and revocation are among the most severe punishments they may receive. License restrictions, mandatory counseling, probation, and public reprimand are other forms of discipline doctors can face. The discipline can become part of doctors' permanent records and harm their professional reputations.
The Lento Law Firm Can Help Doctors Involved in Domestic Violence Incidents
Joseph D. Lento and his knowledgeable Professional License Defense Team have years of experience defending doctors around the country in state board disciplinary actions. They can help doctors who are involved in domestic violence incidents vigorously defend themselves and protect the careers they worked so hard to achieve. Contact the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686, or submit a confidential online consultation form.