University of Florida Psychiatry Professor Relinquishes Medical License
In medical malpractice cases, it is important to remember that psychiatrists are also medical doctors and health-professionals that can be subject to malpractice laws. The Gainesville Sun recently published an article that reminds of us this and the need to properly research the credentials and disciplinary history of medical professionals that we are thinking of seeking help from.
Dr. Harold E. Smith was hired by UF Health Shands Hospital in July 2013, though he was facing an active medical malpractice complaint for the December 2010 death of a patient at the Central Florida Behavioral Hospital in the Orlando area.
Concerning the 2010 victim’s death, Smith continued to prescribe escalating and improper dosage amounts of OxyContin, a drug similar to morphine in its effects, to the patient even after she showed significant and continual signs of being overly sedated.
The patient was found unresponsive on her hospital room floor and later, after being put back in bed, she was found dead.
Just as shocking was the fact that Smith was able to maintain his license even though he had faced two serious prior disciplinary actions in Florida.
One of the disciplinary actions showed that he prescribed OxyContin to family members without proper medical records, a serious medication error, and the other for relapsing into the use of crack cocaine and opioids.
Because of drug and alcohol issues, Smith had his license to practice medicine suspended, revoked or both in multiple states, including Arkansas, Virginia and Tennessee. This fact really speaks to the need for us, as patients, to look up and verify physicians’ disciplinary records.
UF Health officials have not disclosed how much they knew about prior professional actions against Smith. However, the patient’s husband is pressing forward with a medical malpractice suit that is scheduled for trial in 2015.
How Can I Avoid Medical Malpractice?
Whether hospital mistakes, birth injury or a catastrophic personal injury, Attorney Richard M. Shapiro wants you to know that medical malpractice is something that no one should have to go through. Florida has a website that allows you to conduct medical license verification, which is a smart and proactive step to ensuring that medical malpractice does not happen to you.
Shapiro Law Group – Medical Malpractice Attorneys Serving the Tampa Bay Area