Doctors disciplined by state and federal agencies for criminal conduct often receive only minor sanctions and continue to practice medicine, some landing jobs with the federal government, according to a study by Public Citizen that tracked 2,247 physicians with criminal convictions between 1990 and 1999. Some of the doctors end up with government jobs, the group said, citing an Associated Press report four years ago that found more than 100 federally employed physicians had been convicted of crimes or disciplined by state medical boards. About 59% of the doctors disciplined for criminal offenses over the period received serious sanctions, such as license revocations, suspensions or probation. About 41% received lesser sanctions, including fines, reprimands or enrollment in a drug- or alcohol-treatment program. In all, about 44% of the disciplinary actions related to criminal activity involving patients, Public Citizen said. The study appears in the current issue of Health Matrix, published by Case Western Reserve University School of Law. In a news release, Peter Lurie, deputy director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group, said, "The punishments meted out to doctors who break the law are not strong enough to protect the public health." Read the study on Public Citizen’s Web site at http://www.citizen.org/publications/release.cfm?ID=7454.
Punishment lax for criminal doctors, Public Citizen says
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.