The answer is no, he will not lose his license. Many prospective clients come into my office with the feeling that their doctor has offended them. Many want "justice." Many tell me they're not interested in the money, rather, they just want the doctor's license revoked and want to make sure he does not do the same thing to another patient.

The purpose of the civil justice system is to provide an outlet for an injured victim to seek and obtain compensation for their injuries. It is not a criminal proceeding seeking to put a medical professional in jail. Nor is a civil lawsuit the appropriate forum to have a doctor's license suspended or revoked. For the purposes of this article I will assume that any injuries that a doctor or hospital have caused were unintentional and accidental. Why do I say this? Because if the doctor's action is intentional, two things happen. (1) It could then be a criminal case- a type of battery (a criminal law term used to describe an unwanted touching), and (2) Intentional acts are never covered by a doctor's medical malpractice insurance policy.

Getting back to the original question- when you bring a lawsuit in civil court, you ask them to determine if the doctor is responsible for causing you harm, and whether that harm is significant and permanent. If a jury answers all three elements "Yes," "Yes," and "Yes," then they will determine how much money you are entitled to be awarded. At no time will a jury be asked whether the doctor should retain his license to practice medicine. In fact, the jury has no ability to make such a decision.

The only time a doctor will lose his or her license is when their actions rise to such a significant level of malpractice (possibly from intentional acts, and possibly from repeated acts of malpractice) that the general public is at significant risk of harm by allowing this doctor to continue practicing medicine.

Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer