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From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: doctors of the nation - unite?
Date: 06 May 1997

In <5kmkee$jte@epic5.Stanford.EDU> writes:

>With all due respect to the writer below, I must say that his
>implication of strict accountability in California is wrong.
>A few years ago, an investigative report by a prominent newspaper
>in Northern California revealed that the Calfornia Medical Board's
>(CMB's) oversight of doctors in the state is very lax.  Compared
>to other states, Calfornia has one of the lowest rates of revoking
>licenses.  Further, the CMB's staff dedicated to handling said
>oversight is relatively small in comparison to the size of such
>staff in other states.

    Really?  So how come a California license costs $350 a year, more
than in many states?  I always suspected the CMB (or as it once was,
the Board of Medical Quality Assurance, BMQA, pronounced bum-qua) of
ripping everybody off....

    If it's really true that the CMB has a low rate of de-licensure
than other states, that only means that other states are worse.  My
point is that if doctors were bascially not accountable to anybody,
there wouldn't be any licenses lifted.  Or at most, a couple every year
per state.  In California, it must be hundreds.  Yes, they have more
people, but that's still quite a few lives ruined.  The number one
reason for loss of license, BTW, was not cutting off the wrong leg, but
rather for prescribing narcotics in very bad ways.  As to yourself,
your girlfriend, or Liz Taylor.  Bad, bad, very bad!  No, no, no,
California doctors!  Bad!

   Along the line of doctor accountablity, somebody has pointed out
that doctors get sued a lot.  Supposed to be due to our failure to
clean up our profession, said a lawyer to me once.  But lawyers get
sued too, and their rate of increase of malpractice exposure is
climbing faster than mine <g>.   Could it be that other factors are at
work?  One in 3 docs will be sued in their lifetime, after all.  Are we
to believe that 1 in 3 docs is a loser who should have been drummed out
of the profession, to keep it pure?

>A major university hospital lost a suit (within the last
>6 years) which involved a patient who died from catching
>AIDS at the operating table.  Proper procedures for preventing
>the transmission of the disease were not followed.  The name
>of the hospital shall rename anonymous;  it has quite a reputation
>both within and outside of California.
>Reputation and quality are not necessarily synonymous.

   Are you thinking of the UCLA heart surgeon who gave a number of
people hepatitis?  I've not heard of any cases of AIDS transmitted that
way.  Or maybe one-- an orthopedic surgeon...?  Fill me in.  The
Florida Dentist Acer is the only health care professional I know to be
accused of this.

                                        Steve Harris, M.D.

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