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TX court allows relief for malicious medical peer review

In addition to years of schooling and practical education, countless examinations and continued education courses throughout one’s medical professional life, doctors must also keep their medical license active and in good standing in the state they practice. A failure to do so can end their career.

There are many ways patients and others can challenge the standing of a doctor’s medical license. One example involves a peer review. Peer reviews can result in reports to the state medical board. The medical board could then use this information as evidence to challenge the standing of the doctor’s medical license. In Texas, a neurosurgeon recently went through a difficult peer review process that challenged his ability to continue to practice in the state. He pushed back, using legal remedies to attempt to fight for his license. Ultimately, the Texas Court of Appeals agreed to hear his claim that the process rose to the level of a malicious civil prosecution.

To build his case, the neurosurgeon cited another case out of California. In Nicholson v. Lucas, the court found medical professionals were allowed to use medical staff peer reviews as a basis for this type of legal claim. The court supported this reasoning by stating the medical board must be fair when denying a doctor’s medical license.  

Ultimately, in this case the court held the action of the medical board was an interference with the physician’s property rights tied to his medical license in Texas.

It is important to note that a strong argument is present that previous Texas case law does not support this argument. As such, future legal challenges are likely.