Report: Wisconsin docs often escape punishment for errors
MADISON Wisconsin doctors who make serious mistakes often escape serious consequences, the Wisconsin State Journal reported Sunday.
The newspaper said it reviewed all 218 cases leading to discipline by the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board from 2010 to 2012, along with dozens of cases in which the board didn't take action. More than half of the doctors disciplined received just reprimands. And in at least 50 cases involving reprimands, patients died or were harmed, the Wisconsin State Journal reported Sunday.
Medical board leaders told the newspaper they prefer to rehabilitate doctors rather than punish them, especially for mistakes. But they said limited money and authority sometimes prevent the board from taking more serious disciplinary action.
"It would be nice to have revocations. It would be nice to have stronger suspensions," said the board's chairman, Dr. Sheldon Wasserman. "But that comes at a cost. We don't have the resources."
The newspaper cited the reprimand the board issued to Dr. David Almasy as typical of its findings.
Almasy used an electrified wire to remove abnormal tissue from the cervix of Nicole Johnston, a 35-year-old mother of four. To reduce bleeding, he injected epinephrine.
It was supposed to be a routine procedure, but the consequences were anything but routine. Johnston's heart started racing, her blood pressure soared and her lungs filled with fluid, causing her to suffocate and die.