Month: March 2012

March 29, 2012 Attorney Kevin Madison Comments Off on Study of Reported Misconduct of Physicians Shows Most Common Complaint is Inappropriate Communication Such as Sexual Misconduct

Study of Reported Misconduct of Physicians Shows Most Common Complaint is Inappropriate Communication Such as Sexual Misconduct

Medical Boards Discipline Physicians for Online Behavior

Author: Jenni Laidman

March 20, 2012 — Most medical licensing boards have received at least 1 complaint about unprofessional online behavior by physicians, and many of these complaints resulted in serious disciplinary actions, including license revocation, according to a research letter published in the March 21 issue of JAMA.

S. Ryan Greysen, MD, from the Division of Hospital Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues report that 48 (71%) of the 68 executive directors of medical licensing boards responded to the study survey. Of those, 44 (92%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 86% – 98%) indicated receiving at least 1 complaint about an online professional breach.

The most common complaints reported inappropriate communication with a patient, such as sexual misconduct, which was reported to 33 (69%) of 48 boards (95% CI, 58% – 80%); inappropriate practice, such as Internet prescribing without an established clinical relationship, reported to 30 (63%) of 48 boards (95% CI, 52% – 74%); and online misrepresentation of credentials, reported to 29 (60%) of 48 boards (95% CI, 48% – 72%). Thirty-one boards indicated that reports were made by patients or their families (31/48; 65%), and 24 (50%) of 48 boards said other physicians made the complaint.

A New Way to Violate Our Standards

“We’ve just found a new way to violate our own standards,” Jason Jent, PhD, assistant professor of clinical pediatrics, Division of Clinical Psychology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Florida, said to Medscape Medical News. Dr. Jent, who has published about physician online behavior, has no association with the JAMA letter. “Some of the violations we’ve seen in face-to-face communication, or over the phone, or by mail have now extended to online behavior. This is something we have to pay attention to,” he added.

The study authors say much the same: “Furthermore, these violations also may be important online manifestations of serious and common violations offline, including substance abuse, sexual misconduct, and abuse of prescription privileges.”

Thanks to author: Jenni Laidman


I would like to address “Crime Victim Rights” laws that most states now have. These statutes mandate that crime victims have certain rights that prosecutors must follow. Some of these rights include the right of a crime victim to confront their assailant in court; to have a separate waiting room when appearing in court; to prepare and have the Court consider a victim impact statement before sentencing the defendant; the right to be notified of all court hearings and trial date; and the right to have input on plea bargains the prosecutors offer the criminal defendant.

When I initiate civil litigation against a perpetrator I send a “Crime Victim Rights” letter to the District Attorney who is prosecuting the victim’s criminal case. In Texas, the prosecutors (District Attorneys or County Attorneys) are duty bound to follow the mandates of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure that govern crime victim’s rights. Whether or not a crime victim decides to pursue a civil action claim against the perpetrator, I would wholly encourage crime victim caseworkers and crime victim advocates to consider sending the prosecuting attorney a “Crime Victim Rights” letter. This letter lets the Office of the Prosecutor know that the crime victim is invoking her rights under the Act.

 The Crime Victim Rights letter invokes the rights of the victim to be advised of any plea bargain agreements between the Prosecutor’s Office and the offender and also invokes the right of the victim to make a crime victim impact statement that the Court may review before imposing sentencing in the criminal case. A sample “Crime Victim Rights” letter can be found in downloadable format (Microsoft Word) from my law firm website at This letter was designed to be used in Texas. However, you can probably modify this form letter to fit the applicable crime victim rights law in your state.

Kevin Madison is an Austin-based attorney with over 29 years litigation experience and 25 years of experience as a judge. He is also a trained Sexual Assault Crime Victim Advocate.  He was the first attorney in Austin to file a civil lawsuit against a rapist and obtained a $1.5 million judgment in 1987. His experience and training as a police officer, police chief, prosecutor and EMT set him apart from most other personal injury attorneys as an advocate for victim rights in the civil justice system. To learn more about Kevin Madison or civil remedies available to victims of sexual assault, visit or call (512) 708-1650.

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