Maybe you've come across stories like this one in the last few years about an Iowa physician who was forced to resign after an allegation of patient abuse came to light some seven months after a prior allegation had been investigated by the state medical board. Whether or not Bruce Lindberg was guilty of the charges is beside the point. Cases like this one illustrate the enormous pressure state medical boards face to make their investigations public, even when those investigations reveal no wrongdoing.
At the Lento Law Firm, we stand firmly against making the results of investigations public. We simply don't believe public investigations are in line with the principles of the criminal justice system.
If you've found yourself accused of professional misconduct, don't wait to see how the medical board will act. Contact the Lento Law Firm today and find out how we can help protect your reputation and your career. Call 888-535-3686, or use the automated online form.
A Digital World at Odds with Justice
In our digital age, we've all been conditioned to believe we have a right to know. We deserve to know if presidential candidates are healthy. We deserve to know what the health inspector said about our favorite restaurant. We deserve to know how long it will be before the local highway project is finished. The internet has spoiled us with the notion that we can, and should, have any information we want at any time.
This notion, though, doesn't always square with our principles of criminal justice. The trouble is we don't always act responsibly with the information we have.
The Founding Fathers believed that anyone accused of a crime deserves to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. And not just guilty according to any standard, but guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” That's because they didn't want anyone to wind up in jail who doesn't belong there—so much so that they weighted the justice system in the other direction. “Beyond a reasonable doubt” is a high bar. We would rather see guilty persons go free than an innocent person pay for a crime they didn't commit.
This is a considered view, though, and not always an easy one to maintain in the heat of the moment.
A Mob Mentality
Not a lot of considering happens online. We tend to be driven by emotion. It doesn't help that we can say virtually anything we want with impunity. It doesn't help that with access to so much information, we sometimes think we know the truth when, in fact, we don't. It doesn't help that when we get upset over what we decide is an injustice, we're immediately in contact with thousands—millions—of other people who are just as outraged. Social media is much less about thoughtful debate than it is about mob mentality.
When medical boards make their investigations public, they subject those being investigated to exactly this sort of mob mentality. That wasn't true fifty years ago, but it's true now. An investigation—as the criminal justice system recognizes—is a search for the truth. It does not mean a person is guilty. Far from it, in fact. Online communities, though, often have trouble making such fine distinctions. They tend to judge anyone who's been accused of guilt, and frequently, they enact their own penalties. How many healthcare workers' reputations and careers have been ruined by an unfair allegation? Once the public has decided to make a pariah of a physician, a nurse, or a physical therapist, innocence no longer matters.
The bottom line is that when we allow our fears to dictate our decisions, it's difficult to ensure anyone is treated fairly.
Trust the Lento Law Firm
The Lento Law Firm is always at work to ensure justice is done and those who are accused are afforded their rights and given the opportunity to prove their innocence. If you're a medical professional and you've been accused of professional misconduct, we're on your side. We'll make sure you're treated fairly and that you get the very best possible resolution to your case.