As a doctor, it is vital to remember that the things you do outside of work could severely impact your medical career. Criminal convictions may lead to you losing your license. However, an ongoing case highlights that escaping criminal prosecution does not mean that the Medical Board of California (MBC) will not take action.

The authorities initially investigated an Oakdale general practitioner in 2017 after his wife accused him of sexual abuse of her daughter and giving them inappropriate pharmaceuticals. On reviewing the evidence, the district attorney decided against prosecuting, saying it did not have enough evidence to prove the crimes beyond a reasonable doubt.

However, the MBC was not satisfied with that answer and continued their investigations. They have now accused the physician of gross negligence and repeated negligence concerning the opiates and psychotropics he gave to his then-wife and stepdaughter. They also accuse him of sexual misconduct and sexual exploitation.

As a colleague seeing this news, a few things may go through your mind. You may feel disgusted and outraged about the alleged actions. You may also feel a little worried. The case acts as a timely reminder that you do not need to be proven guilty for accusations to destroy your reputation. Any allegation can have severe consequences for someone practicing medicine. Even if the accusations are proved false, people will look at you differently in the street. Some clients may desert you, as might friends, colleagues and even family.

If the MBC brings a charge against you, it is vital you seek legal help. You need to defend your medical license, your career, your business and your integrity.