Las Vegas Sun

November 26, 2014

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Las Vegas doctor sues Medical Board over reprimand

A Las Vegas surgeon has filed suit against the state Board of Medical Examiners after the board publicly reprimanded him for a heated argument with the family of a hospitalized 14 year old.

Dr. James S. Tate's lawsuit is aimed at stopping the board from carrying out its discipline — a reprimand, $1,000 fine and 10 hours of continuing medical education. The board Friday found Tate's behavior brought disrepute on the medical profession.

The suit, filed by Tate's lawyer Jacob Hafter, said there was no evidence in the record that the medical profession was brought into disrepute. The suit also says Tate was not permitted to speak at the board meeting before being judged guilty of the count.

The 14-year-old boy in question was admitted to University Medical Center in August 2008 after being run over by a car. Two days after the admission, Tate recommended the boy be released. A day later, Tate was called back to the hospital for another evaluation. And he again recommended the boy be released.

It was then that the father and the grandmother of the boy got into an argument with Tate over whether the boy should be sent home.

The complaint by the medical board said the father and Tate exchanged profanities, including a comment by the physician "denigrating" the grandmother. The argument grew hotter and the grandmother tried to quell it but was "battered" by Tate in the process. Hospital workers then separated the father and the doctor.

Hafter told the board Saturday that Tate has made a public apology and the father and the grandmother did not think he brought dispute on the medical profession.

The board imposed the discipline but waived the fine.

The suit says the findings of the board "are in complete contradiction of the record and the recommendations of the hearing officer." It said the hearing officer made a finding of fact which opposed the limited comments made by the board during its adjudication.

The request for a temporary restraining order seeks to also stop the board from filing a report of the disciplinary action with the National Practitioner Data Bank. Tate said that report would significantly harm his professional reputation and career.

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