Administrative Law Topics: Investigations / Complaints

IRB Creep Threatens Innovative Treatment in California

In light of research abuses committed in the 20th Century such as the Tuskegee Syphilis Study conducted by the U.S. Public Health Service between 1932 and 1972, and radiation experiments conducted during the Cold War, Congress passed the National Research Act of 1974. The Act was followed by the "Belmont Report" which made recommendations regarding the regulation of human subjects research. Today, the Code of Federal Regulations (45 CFR Part 46) provides standards for Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval when human subjects research is contemplated.

Medical Board Case Closed Against California Physician Offered Public Reprimand

A California physician who previously practiced in Ohio and held multiple state licenses, received a letter from the Medical Board of California advising that California was offering to impose a Public Letter of Reprimand in lieu of filing an Accusation. The letter alleged violation of Bus. &  Prof. Code Sections 141(a) and 2305 [out-of-state discipline] based on the fact that another state had written a "public letter of concern" to the physician.

Physician Facing Felony Domestic Violence, Child Cruelty: Case Closed.

A California physician had a spousal argument at the residence. The argument became loud and heated. Police arrived at the residence and questioned the couple.  The couple's small child was also present. The police officers urged the spouse to accept an application for a restraining order, which the spouse refused. The spouse also informed the police that the spouse did not want the physician arrested nor charged, and that the spouse did not wish to testify about any domestic abuse since none had occurred.

Family Practice Doctor Cleared by Medical Board of Overprescribing

On May 14, 2014, a California Family Practice physician received a Medical Board of California investigative inquiry following the death of a young adult patient from a poly-drug overdose while the patient was in-patient at a residential facility to treat Methadone addiction and related issues.  The Medical Board requested the patient records and a formal, written statement from the physician detailing all care provided to the deceased patient.

Board of Registered Nursing Closes Investigation of Delayed Medication

The Board of Registered Nursing investigated our client's role in treatment of a hospital patient after a malpractice settlement.  Our client was one of several nurses involved in the patient's treatment.  The malpractice lawsuit alleged professional negligence against the treating physicians and hospital.  One of the allegations was that the administration of a single medication was delayed.  The hospital settled the case and allocated a small percentage of responsibility to our client without the nurse's knowledge.  Years later, a Special Investigator from the Board of Registered Nursing

Acupuncture Board Closes Investigation of Patient Sex Complaint

The California Board of Acupunture investigated our client because of a complaint that the Acupuncturist had sexual relations with a patient. California law prohibits acupuncturists, physicians (doctors), dentists, chiropractors, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, nurses and other health care professionals from having sexual relations with patients.  (California Business and Professions Code Section 726.) 


A letter from the California Medical Board arrives at a physician’s office. It informs the doctor that a patient (or family member) has filed a complaint. The letter demands a certified copy of the patient’s medical records and requires the physician to submit a written statement of care in defense of the complaint per Bus. & Prof. Code § 800 (c). A two week deadline is usually imposed--not long for a physician with a busy practice. What should the doctor do? Does he or she need an attorney at this point?

California Physician Cleared of Negligence in Medical Board Investigation

A California physician received a patient complaint to the Medical Board of California alleging that the doctor had refused to provide the patient with proper pain medications, improperly refused to change medications when the patient had an adverse reaction, ignored test results, and refused to provide proper testing to diagnose and treat the patient's injury.