“Haven’t I suffered enough?”
That’s what I think every time someone asks me if I’m going to write another blog post about convicted felon Annette Bosworth.
That’s also what Bosworth said to the South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners yesterday as it wrapped up its hearing on whether to revoke her medical license for unprofessional conduct—i.e., for her conviction on twelve felony counts.
What I heard of the hearing boiled down rather predictably. The Board’s attorney, Craig Kennedy, made the simple case that “Her ethical violation, her commission of felonies disqualifies her from being able to practice with a medical license” under the definition of unprofessional conduct established by SDCL 36-4-30 (“The term, unprofessional or dishonorable conduct, as used in this chapter includes… (6) Conviction of any criminal offense of the grade of felony, any conviction of a criminal offense arising out of the practice of medicine or osteopathy, or one in connection with any criminal offense involving moral turpitude;…”).
Bosworth, evidently out of money to pay lawyers and thus representing herself, paraded a series of patients and other supporters to say that Bosworth is such a wonderful doctor and person that the law should not apply to her. “I’m a good doctor. I love what I do,” Bosworth said in her closing arguments. “Haven’t I suffered enough?”
Typical of her chronic, documented narcissism, Bosworth forgot that this hearing isn’t just about her. It’s also about patients, the public, and the medical profession as a whole in South Dakota. Kennedy said the medical board, in its obligation to patients, the public, and the profession, must revoke the medical license of a convicted felon. A felony, said Kennedy, is a sign of moral turpitude, a sign that an individual cannot be trusted. Disallowing an untrustworthy felon from practicing medicine in South Dakota protects the trust South Dakotans must have in all doctors to be not just competent but ethical.
Dr. John Whipple, the state board’s only witness, said he saw no sign that Bosworth was willing to take responsibility for her bad actions. On cross-examination, Bosworth asked Whipple what she could do to demonstrate that she does accept that responsibility. Relinquish your medical license, Whipple advised. Bosworth then proceeded to dismiss Whipple as a hired gun whose only allegiance is to his paycheck.
Whipple is right. By relinquishing her license, Bosworth would demonstrate that she recognizes her responsibility for her crimes. Beyond her personal story, relinquishing her license would show a respect for the integrity of her profession and the public trust in her entire profession.
We’ll learn in September whether the South Dakota medical board feels South Dakota has suffered enough from Annette Bosworth.