Like other licensed professionals in this state, physicians are expected to adhere to certain standards of behavior and competence. If they do not do so, then regulators with the state are supposed to take action against their licenses so their tendency to make medical errors cannot harm other patients.
However, the ongoing investigation of one major media outlet suggests that the Composite Medical Board, which oversees the conduct of licensed physicians in Georgia, might be engaging in some unfortunate and unexplained leniency when it comes to giving back licenses to doctors who have been caught misbehaving, often in ways that harm patients.
For its part, the Board says its leniency is based on a practical problem in that there are not enough doctors to go around. Rather that make a physician shortage worse, they say they prefer to give wayward doctors a second chance.
However, some of the physicians who have benefitted from license reinstatement lost their licenses based on some very troubling circumstances. One doctor was accused of sexually inappropriate behavior with female patients.
Another doctor, who specialized in managing pain, was accused of over-prescribing medicines to drug addicts. Another had a history of fraud and had been in trouble with the Board with respect to his role in cases that involved fatalities.
Whether the Board's approach to disciplining Georgia physicians is reasonable or not, the point is that the patients of this state cannot rely totally on a doctor's good standing as a promise that they will provide quality care. If it turns that their doctor does act negligently in the course of treatment, and the patient gets harmed as a result, then the patient may be able to pursue a civil medical malpractice case for compensation.