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Report: Doctors often escape punishment for errors

Published On: Jan 27 2013 04:21:59 PM CST

MADISON, Wis. -

Wisconsin doctors who make serious mistakes often escape serious consequences.

The Wisconsin State Journal reviewed all 218 cases leading to discipline by the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board from 2010 to 2012, along with dozens of cases in which the board didn't take action.

The newspaper reported that more than half of the doctors disciplined received just reprimands. And in at least 50 cases involving reprimands, patients died or were harmed.

Medical board leaders said they prefer to rehabilitate doctors rather than punish them, especially for mistakes. But they said limited money and authority sometimes prevent the board from taking more serious disciplinary action.

The consumer watchdog group Public Citizens said Wisconsin has long ranked near the bottom of states in taking serious actions against doctors. It ranks Wisconsin 46th.

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