You may have come across this story a while back. It's all about how Dr. Michael Patrick Gallagher, a Texas physician, wound up with a suspended medical license as the result of a spa patient's death. The tenor of this article, and indeed of the Texas Medical Board, might lead you to believe Gallagher is a rogue physician with little care for his patients, whose negligence led directly to Jenifer Cleveland's death. The fact is, if you read more carefully, you'll notice a number of mitigating factors in this case that suggest Gallagher bears little personal responsibility for what happened.
Cases like these have become far too common in recent years. Medicine is a complicated field, and it's often easy for non-professionals to jump to conclusions when they don't truly understand the situation.
If you've found yourself facing a situation like this, the Lento Law Firm is here to help. We're committed to making sure you're treated fairly and that the true facts of the case emerge. To find out more, contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 today or use our automated online form.
Allegations Vs. Facts
It's always tempting to look for someone to blame when a person dies. In our current social and political climate, healthcare providers often make easy targets. We want them to be able to save everyone, and when they can't, we blame them.
Licensing boards like this one in Texas are terrified of public scrutiny and the possibility that politicians and lawmakers might suddenly start campaigning against them. That leads them to issue statements such as the one issued in this case, which argues that Gallagher's “continuation in the practice of medicine poses a continuing threat to the public welfare,” despite the fact that at this point, the Board had not yet conducted an investigation or offered Gallagher the chance to defend himself at a hearing. Boards make snap decisions, like suspending Gallagher's license. In worst-case scenarios, they'll try to find ways to follow through on their bellicose threats and drive a doctor out of practice.
The fact is, several aspects of this case suggest Gallagher is not the one at fault. For one thing, the medical examiner in the case clearly noted in his report that there is no way to establish that the injections the Luxe Spa administered led to Cleveland's death. That statement undermines the very premise of the case against Gallagher. Additionally, Cleveland had been given a number of similar injections in the past without incident.
Beyond these basic facts, while Gallagher was the medical director of the facility, he could not be expected to be on-site at all times. As the director, he hires staff who undertake day-to-day responsibilities. In fact, in this case, it was the owner of the spa who administered the injections in question, and it is difficult to see just how Gallagher could have prevented those actions.
The case serves as an important example, though. Medical boards frequently try to hold doctors and nurses accountable for the decisions made by their staff. In this case, those were medical decisions, but just as often, doctors can find themselves accused of fraud because a staff member falsified records or filed false insurance claims. Medical boards sometimes give in to public demand and suspend a physician's license before all the facts are in. They will sometimes issue prejudicial statements before physicians have a chance to defend themselves.
Trust the Lento Law Firm
Don't let this happen to you. Fight back. The Lento Law Firm can help. Our Professional License Defense Team has worked with hundreds of healthcare professionals. We know the pressures you face. We understand the complexities of the health care system and state medical board procedures. And we know your rights.