Like other professionals, doctors have to have a license in order to practice medicine in New York.
If they commit what the law calls professional misconduct, New York’s Office of Professional Misconduct can discipline the offending doctor in a variety of ways, including by revoking the doctor’s license to practice.
However, revocations and long-term suspensions are reserved for what in the state’s mind are more serious offenses.
The public can access a doctor’s disciplinary history, as can prospective employers, hospitals where the doctor works and insurance companies.
Medical malpractice and professional misconduct are not the same
However, the disciplinary authority of New York does not, and cannot, stop all dangerous doctors who work in New York.
For one, a single act of medical malpractice, no matter how serious the consequences to the patient, is legally not enough to punish a doctor unless he or she acts with what the law calls gross negligence.
Furthermore, the listed penalties for professional misconduct include fines and additional training but do not include restitution.
In other words, reporting a bad doctor to the authorities may prevent other victims from getting hurt, but it will not usually result in compensation to the victims.
A medical malpractice lawsuit is the best way to get justice for victims
A doctor’s disciplinary history with New York’s licensing authorities can nonetheless provide valuable information about a doctor should that doctor injure a patient.
Still, in order to recover compensation for costs like additional medical bills and lost wages, as well as non-economic losses, a victim of a dangerous doctor will need to file a medical malpractice case that sets out the victim’s claim for negligence.