December 23, 2010

How to end a medical career from The Kitchen Dispatch by Kanani

The Kitchen Dispatch: How to end a medical career -
Terrence Lakin, a physician with the U.S. Army who had earned the rank of LTC, ignored the higher calling of service, caring and healing to play politics earlier this year. Based on the conviction that President Obama wasn't the president because he wasn't born in the U.S., Lakin decided to defy orders to deploy. Lakin gave several high profile interviews, and even made a YouTube video where, though he found it "distateful," he felt he had no choice but "invite my own court martial."

Doing this took ego, narcissism, and arrogance. Physicians in the Armed Forces are a precious commodity. It isn't easy finding people to sign up --either as medical students, reservists or to make the leap from a civilian practice into active duty. His choice to grandstand and play politics was meant with a rightful prosecution. Army prosecutor Neal Puckett told a remorseful Lakin: “You invited this court-martial. You invited this sentence. And for the rest of your life, you get to live with a federal felony conviction.” The full story is here Stars and Stripes. Lakin has started his sentence at Ft. Leavenworth.

But what else does it mean? Some have assumed that he won't be able to get or keep his current state license. Yes and no. His current state license will be revoked. If he reapplies, he will have to admit to the felony, explain in full, and provide documentation. Each state is different, and the licensing board reviews each case separately. Convicted felons face long waits to be heard, and often must hire costly lawyers. In addition, a felony can make it virtually impossible to get privileges at hospitals. Community hospitals are notoriously picky about having anyone with a felony, and usually the answer is an automatic "no," unless the applicant lies and the hospital credentialing board is lax in background checks.
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