February 2022 marked five years since Texas neurosurgeon Christopher Duntsch – dubbed “Dr. Death” – was sentenced to life in prison, revealing how easy it can be for dangerous doctors to transfer between hospitals. Now, KXAN finds Texas patients aren’t getting all of the information they need about some doctors’ histories. Our team searched thousands of disciplinary records from more than a dozen states, showing some physicians coming to Texas to leave their pasts behind – a discovery prompting the Texas Medical Board and lawmakers to promise change.

Part 1: Gone to Texas

KXAN spent three months pulling thousands of physician disciplinary records from medical boards across the country, cross-referencing them with Texas’ physician portal.

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Part 2: Records Still Secret

If the National Practitioner Data Bank ever were to be opened to the public, it would require an act of Congress. That, experts say, is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

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Part 3: One Doctor, Two States

KXAN looked at one physician licensed in both Texas and North Carolina – a state a recent study found among the most transparent in the country for health care – to see how Texas compares.

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Part 4: Push for Change

After KXAN’s reporting, the Texas Medical Board proposes doctors should self-report discipline within 30 days. But at least one state lawmaker is pushing for more change to the system.

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Part 5: Deemed a ‘Threat’

The first duty of medicine is to “do no harm.” But is the Texas Medical Board letting doctors with dangerous pasts still practice? That’s what a TMB whistleblower and patient advocates fear.

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Part 6: Patients & Politics

Texas’ governor tapped top-dollar donors to sit on the Texas Medical Board – some with no obvious patient advocacy or medical experience, a KXAN investigation revealed.

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Part 7: National Attention

An expert panel at the Association of Health Care Journalists’ annual conference attempts to answer the question: “10 years after ‘Dr. Death,’ are patients any safer from bad doctors?”

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Part 8: Calls for Reform

A fifth state lawmaker – a Texas State Senator – is now looking to propose legislation next session in response to a series of KXAN investigations into the Texas Medical Board.

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Part 9: Candidate’s Criticism

Following KXAN’s coverage, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke is pledging, if elected, to increase patient safety statewide by transforming the Texas Medical Board.

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Part 10: Rule Change Approved

The Texas Medical Board votes on a major rule change for patient safety, a direct result of KXAN’s investigation. Also, for the first time, the board’s president answers our questions.

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