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Can doctors sue patients who complain to the state's board of health because they don't agree with the patient's take?

Miami, FL |

Medical malpractice is super serious. But say a patient was harmed but only in a way that is important to the patient, like the boob job was lopsided, or the treatment made the patient fat, or the scar was unexpectedly disfiguring. But none of these are enough to keep the patient from working and earning a living, they just cause extreme mental anguish to the patient. So the patient files a complaint with the department of health and in the complaint expresses some of the indignation. Say it gets investigated and the doctor retorts by pointing out some of the patient's criticism in the complaint is "defamatory" even though it's not public like online reviews known only to the paitent, the doctor, and the state consumer health team. Will or can the doctor sue, do you have any examples?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. In the states where I practice, there is no immunity afforded to the complainant in a board action. So in the end, the statements given to the medical board must be true. Absolutely true. Truth is a complete defense to defamation.


  2. Most states have protections for those reporting medical errors. Truth is also a defense to any defamation action. If a doctor sued he/she would have to pay a lawyer and the very issue he is worried about discussing would be litigated and would likely shine more light on the issue than ever. No reasonable doctor would get involved in such a case.


  3. There is really not enough information to answer your question - but, it is highly unlikely that the doctor will take action against you.

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