While it is a rare scenario, it could happen. There are instances where prominent medical doctors in the area are treating patients, all without any valid form of medical license!
Patients trust their doctors; therefore, they trust their diagnostic skills, judgment, and of course, education and licensing. No one meets with a physician for a consultation and requests proof of licensing – after all, who would expect a physician to be treating patients when he or she doesn’t have a medical license?
If you have discovered that your physician treated you without a license, or that you have been injured by a doctor who was practicing unauthorized medicine, you do have options.
Report to the Police
The most important step is to report the physician to the police. While the punishments can vary – especially depending on whether an injury occurred or not – it is illegal to practice law in any state without a valid medical license. By reporting the physician, you are also taking the first step toward proving negligence.
Report it to the Medical Board
If the doctor was once state-licensed or was hoping to become so, you still need to report to the medical board the fact that the doctor is practicing without a valid license. The state board will investigate and open a file on that physician. If he or she was practicing medicine during a license suspension, the doctor could face revocation. If he or she had no license, the board will determine this and take action.
Was it Medical Advice or Actual Treatment?
It is important to note that the practice of medicine is difficult to define. If you say that a doctor is practicing medicine without a license, it is assumed that he or she was treating. There are guidelines, however, that define whether a doctor is practicing medicine or giving medical advice. Advising regarding medicine is not necessarily illegal to do – regardless of whether or not the individual has a medical license.
- First, you will need to decide if advice constitutes practice of medicine. When a person claims that he or she is a doctor, that title indicates that the individual is giving advice as someone who has gone through medical school, testing, and licensing. If someone never claims to be a medical doctor, but gives you incorrect medical advice, he or she is not liable (criminally or civilly).
- Second, the advice may be considered a practice of medicine, if that advice is specific to your illness or injury.
Speak with an Attorney Right Away
Determining a doctor’s level of negligence is a lot more complicated than it may seem initially. If you have suffered injury from a physician – one who either had or did not have a valid license– you could be entitled to compensation. You will need to first speak with a medical malpractice attorney to explore your options. It is illegal for a physician to operate without a medical license. When an injury occurs, it becomes an issue of gross negligence. Therefore, you need to speak with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible regarding your claim.
Attorney Seth Gladstein, at the Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC can assist you with your case. Meet with him today for a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your injury. Schedule an appointment now by calling us, or request more information online.