Doctor Discipline

Being injured by medical malpractice is bad when the doctor is an established, well-respected licensed doctor; but it’s tragedy when he’s none of those things.

In July of 2006, Jose Veizaga-Mendez, M.D., a general surgeon, voluntarily gave up his license to practice medicine in the State of Massachusetts. According to Massachusetts, Dr. Jose Veizaga-Mendez gave up his license to practice medicine for non-disciplinary reasons.

But was it really non-disciplinary?

According to public records, Dr. Jose Veizaga-Mendez’s agreement to give up his license followed a complaint filed by the Board of Registration of Medicine that among other things, he provided substandard care to seven patients. Seven. You may be thinking these were technical violations, that patients weren’t actually hurt. Think again. Here is a sampling of the allegations against Dr. Veizaga-Mendez:

Patient A: In May of 2003, an alleged misdiagnosis in a 48 year old man led to unnecessary surgery. This unnecessary surgery was itself allegedly done improperly leading to the need for still other surgeries. As a result of these surgeries, the patient experienced prolonged paralytic ileus, which is the inability to have a bowel movement due to paralysis of the bowel. Dr.Veizaga-Mendez conduct was alleged to be “grossly substandard.”

Patient G: In January of 2000, Dr. Veizaga-Mendez undertook to repair a hiatal hernia in a 58 year-old man. It is alleged that he made a surgical error that led to the leaking of stomach contents, which in turn led to infection, sepsis and respiratory failure. It is further alleged that Dr. Veizaga-Mendez didn’t recognize the problem until it was too late. Despite additional surgeries, this 58 year old man died. Veizaga-Mendez conduct was alleged to be “grossly substandard.”

Now you may be asking, “What’s the point?” If the doctor gave up his license didn’t the system work? No, it didn’t because after giving up his license in Massachusetts, Dr. Jose Veizaga-Mendez simply moved to Illinois and began doing surgeries again for the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Marion. The results were tragic.

In August of this year, the VA suspended inpatient surgeries based on an unusual increase in post-surgical deaths. According to the Chicago Tribune, VA officials reported that Dr. Jose Veizaga-Mendez was involved in at least some of the nine deaths that occurred of a six month period at the Marion facility. See, http://www.chicagotribune.com/services/newspaper/printedition/thursday/metro/chi-vadococt18,2,6953971.story Our law firm has been hired by several families of patient’s injured by Dr. Veizaga-Mendez. Following the shut-down of the Marion VA, Dr. Jose Veizaga-Mendez voluntarily gave up his Illinois Medical License.

It should have never come to this.

As my partner Stan Heller told the Tribune, “If one state . . . thinks somebody is not qualified to practice . . . other states ought to require the doctor to show that he is qualified, instead of the other way around.”

Here’s your takeaway: research your doctor! If there are complaints against your doctor, ask him or her about them. Don’t submit to their care unless and until you are satisfied.

Most states have free searchable web sites for discipline against doctors. See, for example, http://www.dpr.state.il.us, for Illinois and http://www.azmdboard.orgfor Arizona. See also,http://www.docinfo.org which is a fee-based service.


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