A medical malpractice case may not be the only legal issue faced by a physician, nurse or other healthcare professionals in the state of New Jersey. A physician, for example, needs to be licensed by the state in order to legally practice medicine. After the initial license is issued, physicians must re-register to continue legally practicing. During this process, physicians must show they exercise acceptable ethical and medical practice standards. A complaint or medical malpractice case may show those standards have been violated, jeopardizing that medical license.
Medical boards decide if a physician’s professional conduct or medical practice ability justifies modification, suspension or revocation of a license to practice medicine. State board members review patient complaints, malpractice data, information from health care institutions and reports from other government agencies.
If a board gets a complaint that a physician has potentially violated the law, the board can investigate, hold hearings and impose discipline which can include fines, public reprimands, suspension or revocation of a license. Restrictions can be placed on a physician’s license while he or she receives additional training or supervision to correct a problem.
Examples of license suspensions include these cases in New Jersey:
- Two North Jersey physicians supposedly practicing family medicine had their medical licenses suspended in July. State authorities accuse them of essentially acting as a “pill mill,” prescribing painkillers to patients when there was no legitimate medical purpose. Criminal charges are pending against one of them, Dyung Kang, who lives and practices in Little Falls, according to northjersey.com. The other doctor, Michael W. Rutigliano, who lives and practices in Paramus, has been under investigation for almost a year. Both signed consent orders agreeing to surrender their licenses temporarily pending further action by the medical board. Rutigliano has been under investigation since one of his patients was arrested in Bergen County while in possession of 319 Oxycodone tablets and 11 narcotic prescriptions written by Rutigliano.
- In September, New Jersey’s State Board of Dentistry temporarily suspended the license of John Vecchione, an oral surgeon, a suspension he agreed to and one that will remain in place until a hearing. His practice has been linked to several instances of heart infections. The Washington Post reports that over two years 15 patients who saw Vecchione and needed intravenous sedation later dealt with heart infections caused by unsanitary equipment. Twelve patients later needed heart surgery; one patient developed complications and died.
- An Irvington pediatrician agreed to a license suspension after investigators found unsanitary office conditions, reports WABC. Dr. Emmanuel J. Francois’ license was suspended in February pending a hearing on the allegations. They include “extreme uncleanliness of office, improper disposal of bio hazardous materials” and problems in “storage and handling of vaccines”; failure to wear protective gloves while treating patients or to wash his hands or use hand sanitizers before or after each patient visit; improperly labeled vials of blood were stored (not processed or analyzed by a lab) in drawers with old and new supplies while others were found in plastic bags in a closet; and used, open syringes were found in the examination room and in storage rooms.
Medical malpractice cases may not only lead to compensation for injuries or death, but they also serve the greater good by potentially putting state officials on notice of serious problems caused by a negligent health care professional.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured due to medical malpractice in New Jersey, schedule a free consultation with our office by calling us at (973) 358-6134 or by using our online quick connect form. Statutes of limitations apply, so contact us as soon as possible so you can learn about your legal rights and take action to protect your interests.