A dermatologist who filmed herself dancing and singing along to rap music while in the middle of her surgical procedures on patients was suspended by the board in charge of regulating Georgia doctors. She is challenging her suspension as a violation of due process.
In support of the suspension, the board found that the doctor had engaged in medical malpractice on six separate occasions. The doctor contends that medical malpractice, standing alone, does not constitute a valid grounds to suspend her license since other Georgia doctors have had malpractice claims filed against them but have not faced discipline.
While this doctor’s most immediate problems relate to her license to practice medicine, older news reports indicate that she has indeed been sued for medical malpractice based on her allegedly negligent treatment of multiple former patients. At least three of the seven cases against her have settled. Of the cases against her, at least one involved a woman whose heart stopped beating in the middle of her surgery. The woman has suffered severe injuries and is currently eating from a tube.
Some might argue that there were some telltale signs that this doctor was a bad apple in the bunch, although she has consistently denied wrongdoing. In any event though, the fact that a patient chose to trust her and then got hurt is not the fault or responsibility of the patient.
Patients put a lot of trust in their doctors, and sometimes place their very lives in their doctors’ care. Georgia doctors who have this awesome responsibility have an obligation to take reasonable steps to make sure their patients are properly treated and not subjected to unnecessary risks. When doctors fail in this obligation, an injured patient or the patient’s family may be able to pursue compensation.