Appeal from the Order of the State Board of Medical Education and Licensure, in case of In the Matter of the Suspension or Revocation of the License to Practice Medicine, License No. MD-010238-E, issued July 1, 1968 to Paul P. Slawek, M.D., File No. 84-ME-4051.
F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, Law Offices, for petitioner.
Kenneth E. Brody, Assistant Counsel, with him, Joyce McKeever, Chief Counsel, for respondent.
Judges Colins and Palladino, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino. Judge Colins dissents.
[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 78]
Paul P. Slawek, M.D. (Petitioner) appeals an order of the State Board of Medical Education & Licensure (Board)*fn1 revoking his license to practice medicine and surgery in Pennsylvania for not having malpractice insurance in violation of section 701 of the Health Care Services Malpractice Act (Act).*fn2 The order required Petitioner
[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 79]
to actively serve 3 months of the revocation. The remainder of the revocation was stayed subject to two conditions: (1) that Petitioner satisfy his professional liability insurance responsibilities in the future; and (2) that should Petitioner terminate his coverage or should it lapse, he notify the Board and the Medical Professional Liability Catastrophe Loss Fund (Fund)*fn3 within 3 days.
Petitioner has practiced medicine in Pennsylvania since 1967. In 1968 he established a general medical practice known as Rittenhouse Diagnostic/Rittenhouse Radiology (Rittenhouse) in the Roxborough area of Philadelphia. In 1979, Petitioner began a four year diagnostic radiology residency at the Medical College of Philadelphia. Petitioner employed a succession of physicians to serve the Rittenhouse patients during his residency. At the end of his residency on December 30, 1983, Petitioner
[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 80]
accepted a staff position at the Medical College. He was granted permission to take the month of January as vacation.
Petitioner was in New York in January when he received a call from the administrator at Rittenhouse informing him that the physician employed to serve Rittenhouse's patients had walked out and left a waiting room full of patients. Petitioner returned to Philadelphia to treat these patients. Unable to find a physician to employ, Petitioner did not return to the Medical College to take the staff position.
The Medical College provided Petitioner with malpractice insurance while he was a resident and would have continued to provide it had he begun his staff job. Since Petitioner did not assume the staff position, the Medical College provided no malpractice insurance after December 31, 1983. Petitioner became aware of his lack of coverage in February and began to seek coverage. A policy was finally issued to him on October 5, 1984, but this policy was not retroactive to January. Petitioner attempted, but was unable, to secure insurance for the period of ...