Do you know your doctor’s background?
Very few, if any, New Jerseyans would be likely to go to a surgeon if they knew the doctor wasn't properly educated or trained and had also been convicted of manslaughter in another country.
That is exactly what did happen in North Jersey, according to state Sen. Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck), and that is why she has announced a push to require international background checks on physicians looking for a license to practice in the Garden State.
"I've introduced legislation that would require that when somebody comes for a medical license before the Board of Medical Examiners, somebody who has worked overseas in a foreign country that that person's work history and educational background has to be checked to make sure there is nothing untoward there," Weinberg said.
The bill is in response to the case of Dr. Richard Kaul of Passiac County. In 2001, Kaul was convicted of manslaughter in the United Kingdom and lost his medical license there after a woman he sedated for a tooth extraction went into cardiac arrest and died. He then came to New Jersey and renewed a pre-existing license.
"He was convicted of manslaughter because of actually causing the death of a patient, but he was able to come to New Jersey from the United Kingdom and easily get his license here to do surgery that he wasn't educated for and it took a while for New Jersey to catch up with him," Weinberg said.
Kaul, of Pompton Lakes, advertised himself as a spinal surgeon and performed spinal procedures. In 2012, his New Jersey medical license was revoked due to malpractice with involving six patients. He was also ordered to pay $300,000 in penalties and more than $175,000 to cover the state's legal costs.
The legislation (S-1533) sponsored by Weinberg would bar the BME from issuing or renewing a license to any applicant unless it is first determined that there's no record of criminal history with law enforcement authorities of any foreign country where the applicant has lived.