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Texas Physician Prescribes Deadly Cocktail of Drugs

Jennifer Chaney complained of neck pain to her doctor, Dr. Greggory K. Phillips, and he prescribed her several painkillers.  Sadly, Chaney died of a toxic overdose in her sleep on her 17th wedding anniversary.  She left behind three children, in addition to her beloved husband and mother.  But it wasn’t the first time that Dr. Phillips had faced sanctions for mismanaging medications; in fact, another woman had died under his care just years before from a deadly combination of psychiatric and pain medications.  Board members had fined Dr. Phillips thousands of dollars over the years, restricted his prescription powers and put his license on probation with special monitoring of his practice.  However, they failed to do the one thing that would’ve saved Chaney’s life–made him stop practicing medicine.

Thousands of Doctors Continue Practicing With Egregious Patient Care Histories

Dr. Phillips story isn’t unusual, according to reports from the USA Today.  The USA Today reviewed state and federal records from several sources and discovered that doctors that were disciplined or banned by hospitals often keep clean licenses, meaning they faced no fines and were never hit with a restriction, suspension or revocation of their license.  What’s worse is that even the worst case of medical malpractice often go unpunished, with records indicating that fewer than 1 in 5 doctors who made payments to resolve medical malpractice claims faced any sort of licensure action by state medical boards.  This failure on the part of medical boards to act in the face of serious medical malpractice is what leads to unnecessary deaths.

Problem Dates Back to 1980s

The problem isn’t a new phenomenon, either.  Concerns about medical boards date back to 1986, when the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that the boards issued “strikingly few disciplinary actions”.  Followup studies called for improvements, but these were quickly laid to the wayside when the Justice Department announced in the 1990s that an inspector general would have no jurisdiction over state boards not funded or regulated by the government.  State lawmakers, like Senator Chuck Grassley (IA-R), disagree with this sentiment and say that without proper oversight, patients get hurt and taxpayers pay the price.  I couldn’t agree more, as leaving medical boards in charge of their own oversight is tantamount to a vigilante crew attempting to clean up the wild west of medicine–it isn’t worth the lives of innocent patients.  You can read a more detailed account of USA Today’s investigation here.


  1. Gravatar for jc

    Dennis Hedrick complained of continued back pain after his horse riding accident and subsequent surgery. His x-rays showed pedicel screws in place in lateral views with no real abnormalities. He did not keep appointments with his neurosurgeon and the pain persisted. Dennis saw an orthopedic surgeon who ordered a CT scan which showed a misplaced pedicle screw read by radiologist 1. So Dennis sued, both the neurosurgeon who did the first surgery and rad 1, because rad 1 missed the misplaced pedicle screw on earlier x-rays and Attorney Huffman took the case. After filing the case, A. Huffman couldn't find an expert witness to support his med mal case, so he dropped it. A year latter A. Huffman refilled the case against the neurosurgeon and radiologist 1,2,and 3. Rads 2&3 clearly missed the misplaced pedicle screw, but because A.Huffman missed the statute of limitations,they were dismissed from the case! The neurosurgeon moved out of state and A.Huffman's neurosurgeon expert became "unavailable" so the neurosurgeon was dismissed from the case. So rad1 was still being sued. Then Dennis Hedrick had the second stage surgery and was pain free--seems the pedicle played no roll in Dennis' pain. Turns out A.Huffman received an x-ray report with a typo error, not caused by rad 1. So rad 1 got sued for 6 years for a typographical error which he was not responsible for on a report which had no effect on the patient's pain or outcome. The case was dismissed and A. Huffman faced no sanction or fine for his gross legal malpractice. Bozo plaintiff attorneys lose 80-85 percent of med mal jury trial cases, a failure rate unmatched in American Industry! Yet neither the State Bar association nor Judges will do anything to curb these abuses!

  2. Gravatar for jc

    Tens of Thousands of Plaintiff Attorneys Continue to Practice Medical Malpractice Law Despite Histories of Egregious Legal Malpractice! Yep, it's true, as the above case points out. Every day some inexperienced plaintiff's lawyer files a frivolous medical malpractice which years later will be dismissed, without payment by a court. 80-85 percent of jury verdicts are for the defendant doc---a plaintiff attorney failure rate unmatched in American Industry! This occurs because a plaintiff's attorney can sue a doctor the day after he passes the state bar--with no additional training! No doctor can perform brain surgery the day after he finishes his internship! The result is egregious legal malpractice, like statute of limitations missed because the wrong doctor was sued, lawsuits filed without expert witnesses. Lawsuits filed without proximate cause--like the woman who sued after her husband had a vasectomy, after she got pregnant (vasectomy performed on the wrong man.). Judges (who are lawyers) never sanction plaintiff attorneys for this stuff. Legislators, who are brought and paid for by the plaintiff's bar, never pass laws to punish errant lawyers. So we are stuck with hypocrites like David Mittleman pointing fingers at the rest of us.

  3. Gravatar for jc

    So lets talk about LEGAL MALPRACTICE, since it is so prevalent! The medical malpractice system is based on fraud and legal extortion. Statistics show plaintiff attorneys lose 85 per cent of their cases that go to trial! But the facts are even worse than the statistics! Plaintiff attorneys typically charge a 40 percent contingency fee plus court costs--so the typical patient gets gouged for about 56 per cent of any verdict. It typically costs $100K to put on a trial, so if the plaintiff wins $200k-100K court costs-80K contingency fee =20K for the patient. So in about half the cases the patient wins--he still doesn't get any money! Yet in those TV lawyer adds, do you ever hear the plaintiff's attorney say, "If the case goes to trial you only have a one in twenty chance of winning any money!"

    The plaintiff's attorney only talks about how he'll fight for you. WHAT FRAUD!

  4. Gravatar for fred flintstone

    This goes passed disingenuous to hilarious...malpractice filings are 50% less off 5 years ago and belive me if docs were screwing up to that degree there would be planty of attorneys to sue. The fact is (based on 35 yrs experience and 40,000 lawsuits handled) 95% of ejudicated cases are closed no pay. This article is an attempt to market the firm and its a fabrication

  5. Gravatar for jc

    Fred Flintstone: I agree totally with your comments! But why is it we never talk about the incompetent plaintiff attorneys who bring these lawsuits? Would you fly on an airline whose planes had a history of crashing and burning 85-90% of the time? Yet there are no legislative hearings on the astounding failure rate of plaintiff attorneys.

  6. Gravatar for Barry Friedberg

    What is the difference between a catfish & a plaintiff's malpractice attorney?

    One is a scum sucking, bottom feeding son of a bitch. The other is a fish.

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