The chief medical officer for ESPN's X Games, Dr. David Chao, is under scrutiny by the Medical Board of California for his negligence in hip surgeries. According to the Board, the sports medicine doctor was grossly negligent in a 2007 hip surgery and was found negligent in three other surgeries. Furthermore, the doctor improperly maintained medical records, which could have led to additional patient injuries.
Not all doctors who are found to be negligent in medical malpractice lawsuits face scrutiny by the Medical Board of California. Rather, the Board can choose to discipline a doctor if they feel a doctor's continual actions pose a safety threat to patients. If, for example, a doctor has faced more than one medical malpractice lawsuit or has had multiple complaints regarding care, he or she may face Board action. In all of 2012, the medical board revoked 18 medical licenses.
The Board could also suspend or revoke Dr. Chao's license. He has faced 23 medical malpractice charges in just over a decade and lost two medical malpractice suits in the last two years. In addition, the Medical Board has reprimanded him for failing to disclose a drunk driving conviction.
The Board's actions may be of particular interest to X Games and NFL fans. Chao was one of the doctors on the scene of the snowmobile accident that killed popular snowmobiler Caleb Moore last month. He is also the head team physician for the San Diego Chargers.
Injured By Medical Malpractice?
While it would be ideal for every doctor that acts negligently to face discipline from the medical board, it simply does not happen this way. Chao was accused of medical malpractice 23 times and has never faced license revocation until now. Thus, it is up to those who have been injured by medical errors to hold the doctors accountable through medical malpractice lawsuits.
Source: Aspen Daily News Online, "X Games Doc Faces Negligence Charges, License Revocation in Calif," Dorothy Atkins, Feb. 14, 2013