Illinois doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are bound to make minor mistakes during their careers. But no mistake should be considered minor if the medical professional clearly deviated from the established standard of care. Doctors have a responsibility to treat each patient with the highest quality of care, and they must take that responsibility seriously in order to best protect the health and lives of their patients.
This month, a doctor who had noticed that one of his cancer patients had accidentally been treated on the wrong side of his mouth with radiation agreed to pay a $5,000 fine for his mistake. Although the fine may seem minimal compared to the reported error, the penalty may at the very least serve as a reminder to all medical professionals in Illinois and throughout the entire U.S. that they must always pay the utmost attention to each of their patients in order to give their patients the care and treatment they need and deserve.
The doctor was fined by the Connecticut state Medical Examining Board after the board discovered that the doctor’s insurance company had reached a settlement with the cancer patient regarding a medical malpractice claim. The doctor has no prior incidents of alleged negligence with the board, but the fact that his mistake happened 29 times while treating the cancer patient before it was corrected is quite concerning.
According to reports, the doctor first met with the patient in October 2006. The patient had a cancerous mass on the right side of his mouth, so the doctor suggested radiation treatments. But when the treatments were administered by the oncologist’s staff, the left side of the patient’s mouth was treated with radiation therapy instead of the right side. This happened 29 times before the doctor realized the error.
The doctor did inform the patient about the mistake and took action to correct the error. The oncologist was disciplined for the error by the board because he was responsible for overseeing his patient’s treatment.
Source: The Middletown Press, “St. Francis oncologist fined $5,000 for administering radiation incorrectly,” Theresa Sullivan Barger, Jan. 18, 2012