Editorial: Patients Have a Right to Know When a Doctor is on Probation for a Serious Violation

July 27, 2017

Los Angeles Times Editorial Board

Before you schedule a physical for your teenage daughter, wouldn’t you like to know if her physician has been put on probation by the state medical board for inappropriately touching young female patients? Similarly, wouldn’t you want to know if the surgeon who’s about to operate on you had been sanctioned for operating while under the influence of drugs?

These shouldn’t even be questions. People place a tremendous amount of trust in doctors and should be confident it is well placed before putting their bodies and lives on the line. Yet, surprisingly, a bill to extend the life of the California Medical Board was blocked in an Assembly committee this month because it included a provision requiring physicians disciplined for serious violations to notify patients that they are on probation, and why. On average, 500 to 600 doctors are on probation for serious violations, including drug abuse, sexual assault and criminal convictions related to medical care.