Veterinarians, like other professionals, must complete certain qualifications, education, and training that requires a significant investment of time, money, and dedication. Veterinarians are also held to a very high standard of ethics and professionalism. The State Board of Veterinary Medicine oversees licensed veterinarians and the Department of Public Health grants and revokes veterinary licenses.
Losing Your License
There are several ways that a veterinarian’s actions, whether intentional or unintentional could result in an investigation into the professional license. Some of these actions include:
Negligence: Negligent practice could lead to malpractice, which could result in legal liability as well as discipline from the Board. Negligence occurs when there are mistakes made in the treatment and care of the animal patients.
Gross negligence: Gross negligence occurs when there is more than the average mistake. This negligence often leads to injuries, severe harm, or death. Civil liability and threats to loss of license are common in these situations.
Violations of contractual obligations: Contracts are usually written agreements between patients and the veterinarian, but oral agreements could also constitute a contract. When a promise is made in a contract and the veterinarian does not do what is promised, a violation has occurred.
Malpractice: Malpractice occurs when a veterinarian fails to comply with medical science or the negligent conduct involved special skills that the average layperson does not possess.
On top of facing disciplinary action for work-related issues, a veterinarian can also face license suspension or revocation for personal issues like substance abuse. It is very likely for a veterinarian to be suspended from practicing following criminal convictions, DUI, and practicing medicine while intoxicated.
Facing a Complaint
If a veterinarian has a complaint filed against them, the Board may decide to act upon that allegation and launch an investigation into the veterinarian’s personal life and practice, including patient files and other records. If the investigation leads to evidence that can substantiate the allegations, the Board will notify the licensee, and at that point, the licensee will have the opportunity to request a hearing, before facing license suspension or revocation.
Sometimes the investigation does not lead to enough evidence to substantiate the allegations and although the Board will not go forward with disciplinary action, the licensee should be cautious in the future to avoid any behavior that could lead to more allegations.
If you are a licensed veterinarian in Connecticut, it is important to seek legal help if your license is at risk for suspension or revocation. With legal help, you could lower the chances of facing severe disciplinary action.