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Wisconsin Medical Examining Board

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In response to the Wisconsin State Journal series “Doctor Discipline” that examined the state's dismal record of serious disciplinary actions against bad doctors, the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board formed a committee to create better guidelines for disciplining doctors.

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At first, investigating what kind of discipline the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board was meting out to physicians in response to complaints seemed like a straightforward records search. But it ended up being a more complicated process.

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A Wisconsin State Journal series on the state's dismal record of serious disciplinary actions against bad doctors, including ones that seriously harm or kill patients, leads to improvements.

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The budget for Wisconsin's medical board appears to be smaller than for boards in other states. It's one of several factors that limit the board, its leaders say.

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Ken Plants had back and leg pain on his right side from a work injury. After Dr. Cully White operated on him, Plants woke up in even more pain because something had gone terribly wrong.

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Wisconsin has long ranked near the bottom of states in taking serious actions against doctors, according to Public Citizen. In the group's latest report, the state ranked 46th, up from 49th the previous three years.

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During heated protests over collective bargaining last year outside the state Capitol in Madison, several doctors wrote sick notes to excuse protesters from school or work. Their action sparked significant debate.

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Although Doctors Behaving Badly tends to focus on exactly what you would expect, its mission is to make people aware of the many ways that patients are left unprotected.

There are nearly 1 million licensed, practicing physicians nationwide. Antidote has no ability to count how many are “behaving badly,” but it is safe to say that only a slim minority are tainting the reputation of the medical community. Doctors who abuse, injure or kill patients are the surrogate markers for an illness in the physician discipline system. They are not the illness.

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How did William Hamman, the United Airlines pilot who faked being a cardiologist, get away with it? By speaking with authority and knowing that nobody was going to bother to fact-check his résumé, including the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board.

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