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Bill Would Require Doctors on Probation to Notify Patients

San Jose criminal defense attorney

In the last few years, horrifying allegations have been made against high-profile medical professionals including USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar and University of Southern California gynecologist George Tyndall. Nassar was convicted of molesting hundreds of girls while Tyndall’s alleged behavior is the subject of an ongoing civil lawsuit against USC.

When a medical professional is disciplined for inappropriate behavior, the actions taken against him or her are not always as public as perhaps they should be, at least according to California State Senator Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo. To that end, Hill has introduced a bill to the state legislature that would require doctors who have been placed on probation to notify their patients of that fact. The law would apply to cases involving sexual misconduct, drug or alcohol abuse, criminal convictions related to harming a patient, and inappropriate prescriptions.

A Big Step

Several sexual abuse survivors testified in support of the “Patient’s Right to Know Act” before the State Assembly’s appropriations committee this month. The survivors—some of whom were abused by Nassar and others who were allegedly molested by Tyndall—pointed out that they trusted their doctor because they had no reason not to do so. They believe that predatory medical professionals are in a unique position simply because of the assumed trust.

According to Senator Hill, a doctor who is placed on probation is required to notify his or her insurance company and the hospital with which they are affiliated. This information is virtually never passed on to patients. Only patients who take the initiative to look for details about their doctor are likely to find anything—and only then if the discipline was made public.

Hill said he first took notice of the problem when a Southern California doctor was placed on probation in connection with 16 separate overdose cases. The #MeToo movement made the issue even more pressing.

The California Medical Association has expressed concerns, according to Hill, that forcing doctors to disclose such information to patients could force doctors out of the profession for a single mistake. The Association, however, said in a statement that it is “dedicated to real solutions that properly investigate and remove bad actors from the medical profession.”

The appropriations committee has approved the bill and sent to the full State Assembly for consideration.

Facing Sex Crime Charges?

If you have been charged with any type of crime related to sexual misconduct, it is understandable that you might feel confused, angry, and frightened about the future. Contact an experienced San Jose criminal defense attorney to get the help you need today. Call 408-277-0377 for a confidential consultation with Wesley J. Schroeder, Attorney at Law.