Doctors are put in the ultimate position of trust with the public. If they act inappropriately, they could face serious civil and criminal charges and a loss of their medical license and reputation. There are numerous acts that might lead to losing their license and professional status.
Failing to follow generally accepted standards of care
Every doctor, nurse and medical professional must practice generally accepted standards of care to protect the health of the patients and staff. Many of their practices are governed by federal laws. For instance, they must follow strict HIPAA laws about patient confidentiality.
Failing to treat medical emergencies in a timely manner
Doctors and nurses work directly with patients and must treat all medical emergencies immediately. They must stop any non-urgent action that they’re doing at the moment and tend to a patient who appears to be dying. A criminal charge may be filed against a doctor who could have worked faster but allowed a patient to suffer and die.
Treating a patient without his or her permission
In many non-emergency situations, a doctor must obtain consent to treat a patient. Under criminal law, not getting consent from the patient could amount to a battery charge. However, if the doctor was treating the patient in an emergency situation or the procedure was beneficial, he or she is not likely to be charged with any crime.
The loss of one’s license
Losing a medical license typically occurs when a medical practitioner commits illegal acts. The license can be revoked, suspended temporarily or reinstated after an investigation. The most common crime is when a doctor uses low standards of care to treat a patient. Loss of a medical license can occur along with termination of employment, fines and even imprisonment.