Illustrations by Richard Watkins / AJC

In Minnesota, state law affords zero tolerance for doctors who are convicted of felony sex offenses: They are banned from practicing medicine. In 36 other states, no such ban exists.

In Iowa, state law says women get half the seats on the board that licenses and disciplines physicians. But in most states men control medical boards, and only half the states give consumers a strong voice in deciding whether doctors who have hurt patients should be allowed to stay in practice.

In Texas, state law demands that doctors undergo rigorous criminal background checks before they’re licensed and while they’re practicing too. But 14 states still do not require criminal checks before giving a license to someone who can prescribe powerful drugs and ask patients to strip down and submit to being touched.

In every state, patient protection is supposed to be the prime directive when it comes to licensing and disciplining doctors. But a 50-state examination by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found that only a few states have anything close to a comprehensive set of laws that put patients first.
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Prosecutor: ʻPimp with a prescription pad’

A jury demanded he give up his license. He got it back, and he’s in Georgia

Almost every day, patients line up at Dr. Andrew Dekle’s clinic, some arriving at the nondescript metal building behind the Grady County courthouse before it opens. Continue reading

Failing grades: More from Part 4

Hurt that doesn’t heal

In a culture that defers to doctors’ judgment and expertise, their victims face a lifetime of trauma.