Hearing procedures for peer review proceedings have been codified in California in the Business and Professions Code Sections 809 et. seq.
Ordinarily, a doctor’s failure to possess or exercise the requisite learning or skill can be established only by the testimony of experts. Lawless v. Calaway, 24 Cal.2d 81 (1943)
Professional persons are not required to have the highest degree of skill. It is sufficient if they possess and exercise the reasonable degree of skill and care ordinarily possessed and exercised by members of their profession in similar circumstances. Sinz v. Owens, 33 C2d 749 (1949).
Where, however, negligence on the part of a doctor is demonstrated by facts which can be evaluated by resort to common knowledge, expert testimony is not required to establish the requisite standard of skill or care. Lawless v. Calaway, 24 Cal.2d 81 (1943) [No doubt, somehow, the medical staff was relying upon this section of the law in calling a nurse to testify against a physician.]
A person is qualified to testify as an FDCPA expert if he has special knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education sufficient to qualify him as an expert on the subject to which his testimony relates. California Evidence Code Section 720[This is the reason a nurse cannot be usually used as an expert against a physician. A nurse has knowledge of nursing, not the practice of medicine.]
- Knowingly making or signing any certificate or other document directly or indirectly related to the practice of medicine or podiatry which falsely represents the existence or nonexistence of a state of facts, constitutes unprofessional conduct.
- Altering or modifying the medical record of any person, with fraudulent intent, or creating any false medical record, with fraudulent intent, constitutes unprofessional conduct. In addition to any other disciplinary action, the Division of Medical Quality or the California Board of Podiatric Medicine may impose a civil penalty of five hundred dollars ($500) for a violation of this section.
However, the real problem with the apparent alteration of records is that the credibility of the physician and the physician’s records are severely impaired. No doubt this is why the physician in the above case settled.