A Miami doctor has been suspended for altering medical records to cover up a mistake. On June 6, the Florida Board of Medicine met and voted to revoke his license, but it then reconsidered and suspended his license for six months.
The case involved a 77-year-old female patient who went to the doctor in May 2008 with complaints of abdominal pain. The doctor ordered a CT scan, which showed a malignant tumor in her pancreas. According to the hearing officer’s findings, when the doctor received the report of the CT scan by fax, he did not tell the patient about the tumor, and it did not appear on her original medical record.
The patient continued to have pain off and on, and she was taken to the hospital by her son in July 2010. The tumor was discovered and by then had spread to her liver. She died the following month.
An attorney for the woman’s family advised them against filing a medical malpractice suit against the doctor, telling them that because the woman had no dependent children and was unmarried, it would be unlikely for them to win any damages. The family instead filed a complaint with the Department of Health.
The doctor reportedly expressed regret for his actions and asked that the board not revoke his license. After the board had voted 5-4 to revoke it, a doctor who had voted for revocation asked for reconsideration. The revised penalty consisted of license suspension, probation for five years and a $35,000 fine.
Medical malpractice or wrongful death lawsuits could result in compensation being awarded to family members for the loss of income or financial support of someone who died. In some cases, damages may be awarded because of expenses incurred because of the death, such as medical bills or funeral expenses. An attorney could advise family members of a deceased person on their rights and the feasibility of proceeding with legal action after a medical practitioner’s negligent or deceptive actions resulted in harm or death.
Source: Health News Florida, “Doctor Suspended for Deception“, Carol Gentry, June 09, 2014