PITTSBURGH - You may ask your family or friends for a recommendation for a doctor, but how often do you check to see if they've been in trouble with the medical board??
Channel 11 News dug through two-years worth of disciplinary records to find out what doctors have been in trouble and why.
We learned that Pennsylvania State Boards have a broad range of disciplines that they can impose.
And while their investigative process can usually take months, there are are situations where they can take immediate action to protect patients.
In August they suspended the license of Fox Chapel Doctor Raja Chakrapani.
He's been criminally charged with touching patients inappropriately.
They also suspended the license of Bloomfield family Doctor Mark Janosko.
He's been criminally charged with having thousands of child pornography videos on his home computer.
The State Board of Medicine called their " … practice of medicine ... A clear and immediate danger to the public health and safety."
“The board gets involved and basically has the role of ... basically judge and jury," said Travis Gery, executive deputy chief council, who oversees the legal working of all 29 of the state’s professional boards.
We searched through two years of state records and found the board of medicine had opened 5,363 investigations statewide.
Forty-six disciplinary actions were taken against Western Pennsylvania doctors, including 21 in Allegheny County, five each in Washington and Westmoreland Counties, four in both Butler and Fayette Counties and two each Beaver, Mercer and Indiana Counties.
Some, like Indiana County Doctor Tahir Mir, had their licenses revoked.
Mir was accused of trading pain medication prescriptions for sexual favors with a patient.
“That really is the harshest penalty that a board can impose," said Gery. “So it is used sparingly."
“We need to root these folks out," said Dr. Bruce MacLeod who is the president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society and the medical director for the West Penn Emergency Department.
“It's very important because the integrity of the profession is at risk," said MacLeod.
Disciplinary actions can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of State website.