The New York State Department of Health Board for Professional Medical Conduct is charged with the responsibility of investigating and prosecuting claims of medical malpractice against physicians, who are also licensed by the state. Distinct from a medical malpractice lawsuit, these proceedings can result in professional sanctions against a doctor for his or her actions. In addition to censure and reprimand, the Board can issue fines, order education or retraining as well as community service. It can also order revocation or surrender of the physician's license. While the Board serves an important function, one cause for concern is that its determinations often come too long after the conduct that formed the basis for the original complaint.
It seems as if every state in the U.S., including New York, is experiencing an increase in medical malpractice lawsuits. While cases such as surgical mistakes get a lot of press, other cases are beginning to receive more attention. Claims of medical malpractice based on drug abuse or prescription drug overdoses are receiving increased scrutiny in our courts.