Here’s a shocking statistic: the Missouri Healing Arts Board hasn’t used its emergency power to suspend a physician’s licenses in 25 years – because they say it is a difficult process.
In 2007, the board put Dr. Martin Macdonald on suspension after he admitted to giving drugs to his employees, having sex with a patient, and fondling another patient’s breasts. Even after he admitted that he had a sexual problem, the board allowed him to continue seeing patients. It is no surprise that just last summer he was slammed with new charges of sexual abuse.
In another case, a Missouri doctor was able to keep his license even after the board verified that he was dealing drugs in Kansas City. Another doctor kept his license though multiple medical malpractice suits and admitted unnecessary surgeries. In a third case, a doctor abandoned his practice, left the country, and had his nurse deliver babies, prescribe medication, and stitch wounds – but even he did not lose his license to practice medicine.
The healing arts board said that they would like to do more to keep dangerous doctors from practicing, but that they do not have the power and lack a sensible process to do so. With investigations that can last up to three years and appeals processes that can last a decade, the Board says that it often doesn’t even try to get bad doctors out of their offices. Many bad doctors just get meaningless probations and lots of red tape – but they still continue to see patients.