4 patient complaints that could cost you your license

As a physician, you have taken an oath to put the health of your patients first. However, situations may arise in which a patient believes you have not prioritized his or her health. In these situations, the patient can make a complaint to the Minnesota medical board.

A complaint to the medical board does not always result in disciplinary action. However, in some cases, patient complaints can have serious consequences, including the loss of your license to practice medicine.

Deceiving or misleading the patient

Minnesota law prohibits practitioners from engaging in false advertising or making unsupported claims about their ability to treat or cure a medical condition. It is also against the law to mislead or lie to a patient about his or her care or treatment. A patient who believes you have been dishonest may make a complaint.

Prescribing inappropriate treatment

A patient may complain that you prescribed the wrong drug or therapy for his or her diagnosis. Prescribing a drug or medical device for an unauthorized purpose can result in disciplinary action.

Sexual abuse or harassment

A complaint of sexual harassment or assault can end your medical career if the board finds it to be valid. Sexual abuse may consist of suggestive remarks, inappropriate physical contact or performing unnecessary examinations.

Employing unlicensed practitioners

In this case, a patient complaint can affect you even if it does not concern you directly. Physicians in Minnesota can face disciplinary action for “aiding and abetting” an unlicensed practitioner. If you own a practice and employ someone who does not have the appropriate licensure, you could lose your license.

If you have been the subject of a patient complaint, you should be prepared to fight for your career and reputation.