As a physician, it's not uncommon to find yourself at the heart of emotionally charged situations. Patients and their families are often entrusting themselves to your care during the worst moments of their lives. The truth is, there's only so much that medicine can do, and with stakes this high, families sometimes like to hold healthcare professionals responsible when outcomes don't meet expectations. In some cases, these grievances can escalate into formal complaints lodged with your state Medical Board, posing a serious threat to your medical license.
This scenario becomes even more precarious when it seems like the complaint is driven by retaliation rather than a genuine concern about professional misconduct or negligence. Even if the accusations are unfounded, the complaint is likely to trigger an intrusive, time-consuming investigation by the Board--one that is disruptive at best and potentially career-ending at worst. What can you do to safeguard your career against someone with an apparent vendetta?
If you receive notice from your Medical Board that a complaint has been filed against you, your first instinct might be to defend yourself immediately. While it's natural to want to rush to clear your name, a strategic approach will go much further toward protecting your license in the long run. Here are some practical steps to keep in mind.
A complaint does not automatically equate to disciplinary action. The Medical Board will conduct a thorough investigation before reaching any conclusions, and you will have ample opportunities to make sure your side of the story is heard and considered.
Keep a comprehensive record of all interactions related to the case. This includes any discussions with the patient or their family, diagnoses, prescribed treatment plans, medical notes, and other relevant documents. This paper trail serves as evidence that can ultimately exonerate you.
Avoid Direct Confrontation With the Family
While it might be tempting, engaging in a heated discussion with the complainant could potentially exacerbate the situation. Maintain professionalism at all times. Once the complaint is filed, you no longer need to concern yourself directly with the person(s) who filed the complaint. Focus your attention on satisfying the concerns of the Medical Board. After all, your future as a doctor is based more on the Board's interpretation of the facts than any accusations leveled by the family.
Consult a Professional License Defense Attorney Immediately
This step is crucial because the Medical Board's top priority is to protect the public, not the licensee. The Board will take any complaint seriously, no matter the motivation of the complainant--and they can find you guilty based only on a preponderance of the evidence. An experienced attorney will guide you through the process and provide invaluable counsel on how to respond to the complaint.
The Professional License Defense Team of the Lento Law Firm has a wealth of experience nationwide in defending physicians against unfair complaints. By involving us early in the process, we can often negotiate a resolution with the Medical Board with minimal disruption to your practice. We can:
- Handle all communication with the Medical Board on your behalf
- Gather evidence to support your case and refute the unfair complaint
- Advise you on the most effective response to the complaint, considering all potential outcomes and strategies
- Actively negotiate with the Medical Board at several points for a quick and fair resolution to the complaint
Vendettas against physicians are common enough, but a vendetta doesn't have to destroy your career. For immediate help navigating a complaint against your license, call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686.