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Doctors: Dealing with professional misconduct allegations

Accusations of professional misconduct can be startling. They can jeopardize your career and your reputation and you might not even understand why you were accused.

You may feel attacked or offended by the allegations. Even betrayed. If someone accuses you of professional misconduct, it’s important to remain calm. Don't let your emotions run high.

All allegations are serious, but they must be proven. Here are a few suggestions for dealing with professional misconduct allegations:

Find an attorney

Misconduct allegations can have far-reaching consequences. These can include suspensions from work or even losing your license.

Take all allegations seriously.

An attorney experienced in medical misconduct allegation can guide you through the entire process. Facing misconduct claims can be daunting, but you don’t have to do it alone.

Contact administration

If possible, reach out to hospital administration. They can give you a better idea of what you are facing, and what’s expected of you. Learn about the process for these issues.

Discuss the allegation process with your human resources department. If available, they are a good source of information.

Understand the timeline for issues like these as well as your hospital's policy.

Know your accusations

Ask administration to show you the allegation in writing. Have it laid out in clear terms, and bring up any questions you have.

There may be an official report, which you should read.

Make sure you fully understand the accusation and if you don’t, ask questions to clarify.

Try not to argue or protest the allegations. Make sure you have all the facts of what has is alleged and why you are involved.

Gather evidence

Determine who can help you. If there are witnesses available, start a list for investigators to contact. Inventory your career as a healthcare professional.

Consider what supports your side of the allegation. Share any accolades or recommendations demonstrating your character with your attorney.

Stay off social media

It can be tempting to vent on social media, or worse, reach out to the accuser.

These can be mistakes.

Do not share any details about the investigation on social media. If you feel tempted to, it may be best to forgo social media altogether until after the investigation.

Allegations of professional misconduct are frightening for any physician but you will have a chance to present your side of any accusation to the Medical Board of California.

If you’ve been accused of professional misconduct or someone you know has, legal counsel can help you throughout the process.

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