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Friday, August 23, 2013

Thousands of doctors practicing despite errors, misconduct

Today's post was shared by WCBlog and comes from

Dr. Greggory Phillips was a familiar figure when he appeared before the Texas Medical Board in 2011 on charges that he'd wrongly prescribed the painkillers that killed Jennifer Chaney.

The family practitioner already had faced an array of sanctions for mismanaging medications — and for abusing drugs himself. Over a decade, board members had fined him thousands of dollars, restricted his prescription powers, and placed his medical license on probation with special monitoring of his practice.

They also let him keep practicing medicine.

In 2008, a woman in Phillips' care had died from a toxic mix of pain and psychiatric medications he had prescribed. Eleven months later, Chaney died.

Yet it took four more years of investigations and negotiations before the board finally barred Phillips from seeing patients, citing medication errors in those cases and "multiple" others.

"If the board had moved faster, my daughter would still be alive," says Chaney's mother, Bette King, 72. "They knew this doctor had all these problems … (and) they did nothing to stop him."

Mari Robinson, executive director of the Texas medical board, says the Phillips case took "longer than normal, but we followed what we needed to do (by law)." Phillips could not be reached for comment.

Despite years of criticism, the nation's state medical boards continue to allow thousands of physicians to keep practicing medicine after findings of serious misconduct that puts patients at risk, a USA TODAY...

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