Medical practitioners in Illinois owe their patients a duty of care to provide them with reasonable medical care according to their education and skill. Part of this duty of care is the responsibility to protect patients from harm. Although an essential part of being a doctor is constantly weighing the risks and rewards of particular treatments, evaluating important factors becomes difficult or impossible when a doctor is working under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Studies show that the vast majority of doctors who have faced medical license disciplinary action for providing treatment while intoxicated did not cause harm that was threatening to the patient’s life. Nor did they cause their supporting staff to report feeling distressed about the situation. However, clear cases of patient misdiagnoses, poor treatment, and other mistakes do occur because of physician intoxication and licensing disciplinary boards take this behavior seriously. If you are being accused of practicing under the influence, it is important to retain legal help right away.
What is the IDFPR Disciplinary Process Look Like?
The disciplinary process can look a little different depending on the circumstances of your case, but the general procedure is typically the same and involves the following steps:
Notice of complaint – This is generally when a practitioner finds out they are being investigated. Complaints are easily made and difficult to defend against; all someone has to do is fill out the complaint intake report online or in the mail.
Investigation – Once the complaint is received, the IDFPR will review the allegations and decide whether to investigate. Once a practitioner has been informed about a complaint, the next best step is to hire an attorney who can help craft a response and provide guidance throughout the investigation. Investigations often include interviews, requests for documentation, and other evidence. Whether it is in your interests to help with the investigation will depend on the circumstances, but independently working with the IDFPR without an attorney can have dire consequences.
Disciplinary conference – Before a formal hearing, all parties can meet to try to negotiate a resolution before the case goes any further. Although the initial conference is considered informal, it can result in serious consequences, including license suspension or formal reprimand.
Formal complaint – If there is enough evidence to suggest real wrongdoing occurred, the investigator will refer the case to a prosecuting attorney, who can then choose to file a formal complaint. The formal complaint requires the practitioner to appear before the IDFPR for questioning.
Preliminary hearing – The practitioner’s attorney and the prosecuting attorney will meet with a judge to discuss the case.
Administrative hearing – In the administrative hearing, the IDFPR will lay out the facts of their investigation before a judge who will prepare a report making a disciplinary recommendation. Then, the disciplinary board will discuss the case and determine whether they agree with the recommendation of the judge.
Contact a Chicago Medical License Attorney
The loss of your medical license has profoundly negative effects on all areas of your life, including your interpersonal relationships. If you are being investigated for drinking or being high on the job, schedule a free consultation with an Illinois healthcare license defense lawyer with Williams & Nickl, LLC. Call us today at 312-335-9470.