Federal Doctors Liable for Medical Malpractice through State Boards
We have previously discussed some of the issues of medical malpractice that have occurred at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals across the nation. Now, as “Disabled Veterans” reports, we are served with the reminder that VA and other federal government doctors may also be subject to their state licensing boards for medical malpractice.
To delve deeper into the issue, we need to look at the specifics of doctor liability.
Government Doctor’s Accountability
Generally, government doctors can evade personal liability through self-insurance, medical malpractice insurance or government representation and indemnification during a Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA – 28 USC § 1346(b)) lawsuit.
However, government doctors can still lose their license from their respective state oversight committees that are tasked with securing the public’s safety in healthcare issues.
The VA typically requires that VA doctors be licensed in one state prior to being employable with the agency. This concept applies to most other federal doctors.
The important takeaway is that regardless of where federal health care professionals practice medicine, they will likely still be subject to their home state licensing board should they deviate from common standards of practice.
Medical malpractice has five elements under the tort of negligence claims:
- A duty was owed: A legal duty exists whenever a hospital or healthcare provider engages in care or treatment of a patient;
- A duty was breached: The provider did not conform to the relevant standard of care.
- The breach caused an injury: The breach of duty was a direct cause and the proximate (legal) cause of the injury;
- Deviation from the accepted standard: It must be shown that the healthcare individual was acting in a manner that was not the generally accepted standard in his or her profession; and
- Damage: There must be actual damages (emotion, monetary, etc.)
As such, even if you have dealt with government doctors, it is important to remember that they will likely be liable under their licensing state’s laws for physician mistakes and other incidents of medical malpractice.
Did You Know: Florida consistently ranks in the top five states for medical malpractice payouts.
Shapiro Law Group – Medical Malpractice Attorneys Serving the Tampa Bay Area