Zaman v. S.C. State Bd. of Medical Examiners, 23380

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Citation305 S.C. 281,408 S.E.2d 213
Decision Date06 March 1991
Docket NumberNo. 23380,23380
PartiesFasih Q. ZAMAN, Appellant, v. S.C. STATE BOARD OF MEDICAL EXAMINERS, Respondent. . Heard

Randall M. Chastain, Columbia and H. Fulton Ross, Jr., Gaffney, for appellant.

Attorney Gen. T. Travis Medlock and Asst. Atty. Gen. Richard P. Wilson, Columbia, for respondent.

GREGORY, Chief Justice:

This is a physician disciplinary matter. The circuit court affirmed the revocation of appellant's license to practice medicine in South Carolina. We affirm.

Appellant has lived in Pakistan since June 1985. In January 1986, the State Board of Medical Examiners (Board) filed a complaint against appellant alleging incompetent treatment of twenty-four patients between the years 1980 and 1982. The allegations involve neglect, improper medical treatment, and the administration of excessive dosages of narcotics and analgesics.

An evidentiary panel hearing was held December 9, 1987. Appellant was not present. Counsel for appellant moved for a continuance on the ground appellant was ill and could not travel from Pakistan. No supporting evidence was produced and the motion was denied.

The State presented evidence concerning nine of the twenty-four patients referred to in the complaint. After the panel recommended sanctions, a hearing before the Board was scheduled for February 1, 1988. Appellant did not appear on that date. Counsel moved to remand to the panel for an evidentiary hearing. Counsel produced an affidavit from appellant's treating physician indicating appellant had consulted the physician on December 5, 1987, for chest pains and he had diagnosed appellant as having "acute coronary insufficiency." The affidavit was dated January 7, 1988.

The Board issued an order on February 19, 1988, denying the motion for remand and scheduling a Board hearing for April 27, 1988. The order provided that appellant could: (1) submit affidavits to the Board from expert witnesses regarding appellant's care of the named patients; and (2) make a narrative statement to the Board concerning his position. Appellant moved to reconsider the order as providing inadequate relief and reiterated the request for a remand.

On April 27, the Board met and considered counsel's argument on the motion. Appellant was not present. The Board denied the motion. On May 23, 1988, the Board issued its final order revoking appellant's license to practice medicine in this State. It found the State's evidence demonstrated a pattern of unethical and incompetent medical practice which contributed to the death of some of his patients. On appeal, the circuit court affirmed.

Appellant claims his due process rights were violated because he was not given adequate notice of the charges against him. He contends notice is inadequate because the complaint does not set forth the proper medical treatment that should have been rendered.

The complaint sets forth in great detail appellant's medical treatment of each patient and alleges he violated S.C.Code Ann. § 40-47-200(7), (8), and (12) (1986). Subsection (7) defines misconduct as a violation of medical ethics, subsection (8) prohibits unethical or unprofessional conduct, and subsection (12) specifically provides that a lack of professional competence constitutes misconduct for which a physician may be disciplined. In Toussaint v. State Board of Medical Examiners, --- S.C. ----, 400 S.E.2d 488 (1991), this Court held subsections (8) and (12) provide sufficient notice that a physician must conform his conduct to those standards of competence acceptable within the medical community of this State. The complaint here clearly puts appellant on notice that the treatment alleged was not acceptable under this standard. We hold appellant was given adequate notice of the charges as required by the Due Process Clause.

Appellant next contends that Reg. 81-60, entitled "Principles of Medical Ethics," is void because it was promulgated by the former Board which was found by this Court to be unconstitutionally composed. See Toussaint v. State Board of Medical Examiners, 285 S.C. 266, 329 S.E.2d 433 (1985). The State, on the other hand, claims the regulations promulgated by the former Board are valid under the de facto doctrine.

In State ex rel. McLeod v. West, 249 S.C. 243, 153 S.E.2d 892 (1967), this Court held that our State Senate could validly perform all its legislative functions until the next general election after it was found unconstitutionally composed under federal law. See also State ex rel. McLeod v. Court of Probate of Colleton County, 266 S.C. 279 223 S.E.2d 166 (1975) (official acts of de facto judge held valid). We hold this same de facto principle applies to the acts of the former Board to render regulations it promulgated valid.

In any event, even if Reg. 81-60 were declared void, the sanction imposed against appellant for violating § 40-47-200 would not be affected. Reg. 81-60 merely sets forth specific ethical principles incorporated in the general prohibitions of § 40-47-200.

Appellant claims the Board's refusal to remand the case to the panel for an evidentiary hearing deprived him of the right to effective cross-examination of the witnesses against him. 1

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    ...sufficient administrative procedure but merely declines or fails to take advantage of it." Zaman v. S.C. State Bd. of Med. Exam'rs, 305 S.C. 281, 285, 408 S.E.2d 213, 215 Coastal received public notice of the pending permit applications and participated in public hearings. Additionally, Coa......
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    ...find this issue unpreserved. The record must show that the issue was raised in the trial court. Zaman v. S.C. State Bd. of Med. Exam'rs, 305 S.C. 281, 285, 408 S.E.2d 213, 215 (1991); Reid v. Kelly, 274 S.C. 171, 174, 262 S.E.2d 24, 26 (1980). A motion or an objection made during an off-the......
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