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National Enquirer – for doctors

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All licensees of the Medical Board of California receive a monthly magazine from the board called “Action Report.” It tells you about the latest changes in laws and policies, but saves the best for last: a detailed, extremely specific accounting of the full name, medical license number, address, and offense of every physician and other health professional disciplined by California in the last month.

I read this with horrified fascination, much as I read the New York Times Weddings section on Sunday. Several times a year, a doctor I went to school with, trained with, know, or have heard of loses his or her license, for a million and one reasons. Most often it’s for drug use, billing fraud, or sexual offenses with patients; sometimes, though, it’s for negligence, incompetence, or murder. Chilling reading.

Here’s the best part: you don’t have to be a doctor licensed in California to read this stuff. Just click here, and you’re at the Medical Board’s website; look on the opening page under “What’s New,” then look under “Recent Publications,” and click on “February 2004 Action Report.”

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