Renowned surgeon charged with beating his wife – again – was stripped of license long ago

10 09 2010

Newspapers reported this week that Michael Brown has been arrested and charged with beating his fourth wife. The arrest was not his first. In 2002 he was charged with beating his third wife – who was pregnant – with a broken bedpost.

A familiar face to TV viewers

You probably recognize Brown. Until his most recent arrest, he was featured in television advertisements for his Brown Hand Centers. Surrounded by his wife and children, he told viewers that “the Brown Hand Center will care for you, just as I care for my own family.”

But he is no longer licensed to practice medicine

Brown has not been licensed to practice medicine in Texas for years. The Texas Medical Board placed him on probation following the criminal charges in 2002 and then in 2006 the Board revoked his license after he tested positive for cocaine.

Interestingly, the website for the Brown Hand Centers states that Brown is “retired” from the practice of medicine. It fails to mention that he could not practice if he wanted to. (One wonders if the Board should do something about that.)

For more details on Brown’s discipline by the Board, go the Board’s website at www. tmb.state.tx.us and click on the tab labeled “Look Up a Licensee.”

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It’s okay for the Government to be late — but not you!

19 07 2010

The American essayist Og Mandino is credited with saying the following about being late: “There is an immeasurable distance between late and too late.” A recent administrative law case involving a Licensed Professional Counselor illustrates that perfectly.

The counselor was licensed for 19 years, dutifully renewing her license each year. By law, the licensing board was required to send her a notice 30 days before her license was to expire each year.

Oops!

In 2002, the Board failed to send the renewal notice. As a result, the counselor did not renew her license and her license expired, unbeknownst to her. In 2006, she finally learned that her license had expired. At that time she applied to renew it. But the licensing board refused to renew it because it had been expired for more than one year!

Surely the courts will straighten this out – right?

The counselor sued the licensing board and argued that she should not be penalized for allowing her license to go unrenewed for a year because the board failed to send her a notice of renewal as it was required to do. Her case has been winding its way through the courts but now appears to be over. The result? She loses. In May, the Austin court of appeals ruled in favor of the board. It said that the law required the counselor to renew each year, and that requirement applied whether or not the board sent a reminder notice as it was required to do.

Moral of the story

We all have so much going on in our lives that we tend to rely on others to tell us when things are due. We rely on the dentist to tell us when it is time for a cleaning, and we rely on the government to tell us when it is time to new our various licenses and registrations. But this case shows that you must treat your professional license differently. Be vigilant about the deadline to renew your license and do not rely on your licensing agency to remind you.