DENVER - The Colorado Medical Board is making policy changes after a CALL7 Investigation into problem doctors.
CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia uncovered the loophole in the system that allowed problem doctors facing disciplinary actions, to simply surrender their license and never face formal discipline on their permanent record.
That allowed doctors to move their practice to another state because, with no recorded discipline, most state regulatory agencies find it difficult to deny them a medical license. That has now changed.
“It closes the gap,” said Marschall Smith, program director for the Colorado Medical Board.
Smith said the change is immediate and will help other state boards looking into licensing to fully assess the professional fitness of a doctor, and give them an option as to whether to grant a license.
“It gives those licensing boards the hook, that this person has been disciplined by the Colorado Medical Board,” Smith said. He said now instead of just a voluntary surrender on a doctors’ record, it will now say disciplinary action.
In the case of Dr. Denise Crute, CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia found, the Colorado Medical Board filed 17 separate complaints against the neurosurgeon who once practiced in Pueblo.
Among the medical board charges: She operated on the wrong side of a patient’s brain. But before any disciplinary action could be taken against her by the board, she surrendered her license and moved her practice to Illinois. There, she operated on several patients who are now suing her for malpractice. Among them is Mary Friday.
After surgery she said, “I couldn’t move my right foot, and I couldn’t feel my right foot. I didn’t go in for a right sided surgery.”
Friday, who now is forced to use a cane to walk, charges that Crute operated on the wrong side of her spine. .
When the suits began, Crute again moved… this time to New York. where she is currently practicing at Mount Sinai Hospital.
CALL7 caught up with Crute in New York, but she declined to comment on her history of medical mistakes .
“You’ve admitted harm in Colorado and then you moved to Illinois and now you’ve got lawsuits in Illinois,” Ferrugia said to Crute.
He said because of the CALL7 Investigation, it will be clear to the public and other state licensing boards that doctors like Crute, were in fact disciplined in Colorado.
“It allows them to take appropriate actions, according to their state statue,” said Smith.