Fox 4 in Dallas/Forth Worth has conducted a recent investigation into the Texas Board of Medical Examiners. Fox reported that the state board that is supposed to be policing doctors and protecting the public has its critics.
In 2003 Texas lawmakers put caps on medical malpractice lawsuits but Fox reports those lawmakers promised to keep a tight rein on doctors by strengthening the board. As part of Fox’s investigation, it detailed the stories of two women who will be forever changed as a result of one doctor’s negligence and their secret complaints to the Board of Medical Examiners.
Just opening a door is a now a struggle for Irma Carbajal LeCroy, once a successful Realtor who now has trouble making her rent. Her life changed a year ago when she ended up in the emergency room following a cosmetic procedure.
Lecroy had gone to the Molina Medical Clinic for an elective procedure called a Brazilian butt lift. Dr. Hector Oscar Molina removed fat from her abdomen and re-injected it into her buttocks. Lecroy’s attorney says that fat was injected into her muscle.
Her friend called 911 when LeCroy woke up in a recovery room in a panic. LeCroy was not feeling good and she could not feel the bottom of her feet. Ultimately, doctors at Baylor Hospital operated on LeCroy 27 times.
After months of surgery and rehab, LeCroy is now permanently disabled. She has scars that run almost a foot long up both legs. She wears braces to hold her feet in place. LeCroy filed a medical malpractice lawsuit, but Molina has no medical malpractice insurance for plastic surgery.
LeCroy’s family filed complaints with the Texas Medical Board but those complaints were not shared with the public.
Seven months later another of Molina’s patients was rushed to Baylor’s emergency room. Monica Moreno went to Dr. Molina for an arm lift and breast implants. Nine days after surgery her wounds were severely infected, and she could not breathe. Moreno spent two months at Baylor and in rehab.
Her family says had they known about LeCroy’s complaint, they never would have allowed Dr. Molina to perform the surgery.
The public does not learn about complaints. It only gets to see disciplinary action when it is final.
Since 2003 the number of patient complaints to the board has increased from 4,900 to more than 8,000 last year. But investigations are down to only 25 percent. Fox reported that doctors now review complaints instead of nurses, and they are finding 75 percent do not require investigating.
This is Dr. Molina’s second round with the state board. In 2004 he was disciplined and ordered to pay $25,000 for prescribing controlled substances and dangerous drugs over the Internet.
Neither woman had health insurance, so all of the surgeries and months of hospitalization were paid for by charity and Medicaid, which means taxpayers helped pay the costs.
Fox reported on others that feel the medical board let them down. To read and see the full story, please go to http://www.myfoxdfw.com/story/18169259/news-station-investigation-medical-board?clienttype=printable.