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Doctor suspended after falsifying records

Patients rely on doctors to give the best possible care. When doctors make errors, patients' health can be put at risk. Victims of doctor errors should understand all possible legal options. In many cases, compensation may be available for medical expenses or pain and suffering caused by the negligence of a physician. New Mexico residents might be interested to learn about a recent case involving a doctor accused of falsifying medical records.

The doctor at the heart of this case was charged with grand theft and altering medical records. He recently pleaded no-contest. He allegedly submitted altered anesthesia records. The altered records showed an increase in time that individuals were under anesthesia. The doctor apparently did this so he could charge patients more for procedures, according to the Medical Board's website.

Effective Dec. 20, 2012, the doctor has been placed on probation for seven years by the Medical Board of California. He will also not be allowed to practice medicine for 60 days. The suspension is effective beginning Jan. 5. The terms of his settlement also require that he take a course on medical record-keeping, have his billing operations monitored and receive psychiatric and medical evaluations. The doctor is not allowed to supervise physicians' assistants while on probation.

The doctor also faced legal consequences for the charges, which were initially filed in 2010. He originally faced four felony charges and one misdemeanor charge, and he reportedly pleaded guilty to two of the charges in February 2011. As a result, he was sentenced to 90 days in jail, with two days of credit, five years of probation and 500 hours of community service. The doctor also faced a $3,800 fine and was required to pay $200 restitution.

Doctor errors can have serious consequences, even when the errors appear to be only on paper. It is essential that victims of doctor error know how to access all legal options available to them. Seeking compensation in cases of medical error or negligence can be the first step in healing.

Source: The Bakersfield Californian, "Doctor penalized for records errors, theft," Rachel Cook, Dec. 29, 2012

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