In August 2019, the Texas Medical Board announced that it disciplined 44 licensed physicians. Near the end of the Board’s announcement were four “Cease and Desist” actions that caught my eye:
• Ritter Von Ali Hernandez, of Houston, owned and operated Novopelle Med Spa. The spa provided regulated medical services including Botox injections to at least one patient.
• Michaele Posey, D.C., an Abilene chiropractor, advertised herself as a “board certified functional neurologist” who was the only “board certified functional neurologist in the Big Country and 1 of only 500 doctors worldwide to hold this elite title.” This chiropractor appeared on Abilene area television to comment on medical conditions, including depression and anxiety, and how she treats them.
• Jorge Braulio Romero, of Houston, misrepresented himself as being a physician, using the title “Doctor” without specifying any authority for that. He worked at Clinica Naturista—Health and Wellness Center, 2855 Magnum Road, in Houston.
• Jhon Whitaker, of Plano, misrepresented herself as a licensed physician. On her website and in social media, she referred to herself as “Dr. Jhon” and advertised that she treated chronic pain and neurological conditions with hypnosis and cold laser treatments.
It’s dangerous to get medical care from someone without medical training and licensure
It goes without saying that people without a medical degree aren’t medical doctors.
But chiropractors also aren’t medical doctors or physicians even though they use the term “Doctor.” According to the American Chiropractic Association, chiropractors provide a hands-on, drug-free approach to health care. They’re mainly known for providing pain-related therapy in the form of spine and neck manipulations/adjustments.
Fortunately, when considering a new physician there are some easy, free ways that you can research that doctor’s qualifications. I recommend that every patient use these tools to learn about their potential doctors’ experience.
First, I always recommend checking out the physician’s public profile on the Texas Medical Board. Here’s the link. You can verify that the doctor has an active license to practice medicine in Texas, plus find out where he or she went to medical school, dates of licensure and graduation, any board certifications or specialties, and whether there is any disciplinary history by the Board.
If you look up someone on the Texas Medical Board website and there is no profile, beware. The person may be an impostor, like those people who were recently ordered to stop pretending to be doctors by the Texas Medical Board.
There’s one caveat. I’ve noticed that the Texas Medical Board licensure database can be clunky—you have to search for the name in the exact order and way that the physician was licensed. For example, I have a lawsuit against a Houston Willowbrook area colon and rectal surgeon who’s of Hispanic origin. In the medical records, he uses two last names, but in spoken language he refers to himself with only one of the last names—the next-to-last one. It was a bit confusing to find him in the Board database. If you run into a situation like this, you can double-check the results by calling the Texas Medical Board at 800-248-4062, or by asking the so-called doctor’s office for proof of licensure.
A second online resource that I use is verifying board certification status. The American Board of Medical Specialties operates a free searchable database to allow verification of board certification status of physicians from a wide swath of legitimate board specializations. You can access it here.
If you’ve been seriously injured because of faked medical care, or substandard care provided by a licensed physician, then contact a top-rated, experienced Houston, Texas medical malpractice lawyer for help in evaluating your potential case.