Standards for doctor-patient relationships are understandably high. Doctors and other healthcare workers are in a position of authority over their patients, and a doctor who is found to have engaged in an inappropriate doctor-patient relationship may be at risk of losing his license. In addition to putting themselves at risk of accusations of medical malpractice, deviating from the standard of care by having even a voluntary relationship with a patient can be an act of negligence by medical professionals. Of course, acts of sexual assault or violence against a patient can similarly result in sanctions against licensure, as well as criminal investigations and punishments.
However, medical practitioners are people and people make mistakes. Furthermore, while practitioners are generally permitted to have consensual relationships with former patients, there may be a question as to whether the professional relationship was legitimately terminated prior to the relationship taking place. If you are a medical professional facing sanctions for allegedly engaging in inappropriate relationships with your patients, contact an Illinois medical license defense attorney for help.
Investigations for Inappropriate Doctor-Patient Relationships
If a doctor is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a patient and admits to this behavior, it can be very difficult for the doctor to defend himself in an investigation into his conduct. It is, therefore, very important to retain legal representation and to act carefully, especially during the initial stages of an investigation. The investigation will generally follow a standard process:
- Initial claim – Whether from a patient, a colleague, or even a physician’s spouse, the initial claim is what triggers the beginning of the investigation process. If there is sufficient evidence, the initial claim will become a complaint that is sent for further review.
- Investigation – Complaints are investigated by the Chief of Medical Investigations and may involve interviewing the accused, the person who made the complaint, colleagues, and patients, as well as reviewing any other evidence against the accused.
- Negotiations – The accused can use negotiations as an opportunity to admit to the complaint, defend himself, or negotiate a punishment in a consent order. A consent order may result in less serious punishment than if the accused denies all wrongful conduct and the investigation moves forward into a formal hearing in which the accused is found responsible for the misconduct anyway.
- Disciplinary actions – Once the disciplinary board has sufficient evidence to make a decision, they can take action. The Director of the Division has the final say on disciplinary measures and, depending on the severity of the misconduct, may fully revoke a practitioner’s license.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Illinois Medical License Defense Attorney
If you are being investigated or disciplined for allegedly having inappropriate relationships with a patient or patients, protect yourself with the help of an experienced Illinois medical license defense lawyer at The Law Offices of Joseph J. Bogdan, LLC. We will work aggressively to defend you in hearings and position you to regain your license if it has already been suspended or revoked. Call 630-310-1267 for a confidential consultation.