Leonard Lopate: Many bad doctors have been responsible for deaths or serious injuries of more than one patient. How do they avoid prosecution? Why are they allowed to continue practicing?

James Lieber: Many states have very lax licensing controls. So a doctor can screw up in Colorado, and go to Utah, or Arizona or Hawaii. That’s what has happened.

Leonard Lopate: They don’t ask the previous place of employment what happened, why the doctor left?

James Lieber: Well there are some reform laws, including one in Colorado, after this young man, Michael Skolnik, went to a neurosurgeon who did an unnecessary brain surgery, which completely retarded him, ruined his endocrine system. He had a horrible final year of life. Turned out that doctor had not been candid about his background. Colorado implemented a law that now makes physicians and many healthcare providers be candid about their backgrounds and any problems they have had or they can’t get license in Colorado.

To listen to the full interview, visit WNYC.

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