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    Re: U.S. Court of Appeals Rules against the Texas Medical Bo

    Posted by Deborah on 12/11/10

    Very encouraging.

    On 12/10/10, Sharon wrote:
    > U.S. Court of Appeals Rules against the Texas Medical Board
    > The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled, on
    > December 2, 2010, against the Texas Medical Board (TMB),
    > allowing landmark litigation by the Association of American
    > Physicians and Surgeon to proceed to prove wrongdoing by
    > the Board.
    > Among the claims of “pervasive and continuing violations of
    > … constitutional rights” by the TMB, the Court expressly
    > noted allegations that “the Board manipulated anonymous
    > complaints,” that the former Board president targeted
    > physicians, and that “anonymous complaints allegedly were
    > filed by a New York insurance company seeking to avoid
    > paying … for claims.”
    > The unanimous Court described the allegations as “rather
    > dramatic claims,” and sent the case to the federal trial
    > court so that discovery can proceed. The TMB will no longer
    > be able to conceal its wrongdoing against good physicians.
    > Physicians brought before a licensure board can be
    > financially ruined by unconstitutional proceedings, even if
    > exonerated, or they can lose their livelihood altogether.
    > Instead of using their enormous power for the purpose of
    > protecting the public, board members can deprive thousands
    > of patients of access to good physicians simply because an
    > anonymous complainant held a grudge against the physician,
    > or dislikes freedom in medicine.
    > TMB argued that only individual physicians had standing to
    > sue. AAPS noted, however, that individuals could not
    > typically prove a pattern of abuse involving other
    > physicians. Moreover, physicians fear retaliation for
    > complaining about the Board.
    > The Court ruled that: “If practiced systemically, such
    > abuses may have violated or chilled AAPS members’
    > constitutional rights. Proof of these misdeeds could
    > establish a pattern with evidence from the Board’s
    > witnesses and files and from a small but significant sample
    > of physicians.”
    > One Texas physician writes: “I can’t tell you how fearful
    > doctors are of the TMB. Knowing that with each disgruntled
    > employee, angry neighbor, or aggressive competitor, we
    > could lose our license, the practice of medicine has become
    > one of fear. Thank you for your fight, and I hope many
    > physicians will be sleeping more easily…at least in Texas!”
    > AAPS is a national organization representing physicians in
    > all specialties. The entire decision is available, as are
    > the complaint, other documents, and a link to an
    > audiorecording of the oral argument. See
    > for more
    > information.

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