Last week, we discussed the specifics of a recent story involving a man who pretended to be a doctor. This story is a troubling one. Particularly in regards to how long this man was able to lie about being a doctor. This could have put many patients at risk of facing injuries resulting from medical malpractice.
Thankfully, as we mentioned last week, no patients appear to have been harmed by the man’s actions in this case. However, this occurrence points to a larger problem which could hurt patients. Are hospitals, clinics and other organizations making sure to properly check credentials when hiring a person to train other doctors?
From this case, it seems like the answer could be no. After all, this man successfully posed as a doctor for over a decade without anyone checking his credentials.
Failure to properly check the credentials of people hired to train other doctors could have a major impact on patients. For instance, what if a fake doctor tried to teach a session involving actual medical training? And what if this training was done improperly? This could cause those who trained under the fake doctor to perform medical procedures incorrectly.
Also, what if hiring a fake doctor in a teaching capacity led to this person trying to perform a procedure on a patient? This could expose patients to extreme harm and medical malpractice.
Thus, this is a serious issue that medical organizations should work hard to address. Hopefully, efforts are made to determine what policies led to the lack of credential checking in this case. Then, one would hope that all medical organizations will learn from these mistakes and make the necessary changes to ensure that all doctors that work with them actually are who they say they are.
Source: The Associated Press, “AP EXCLUSIVE: Pilot duped AMA with fake M.D. claim,” 13 Dec 2010