MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- How much do you know about your doctor? KARE 11 teamed up with USA Today in a special investigation and the results may surprise you.
They would have surprised Jennifer Chaney, had she lived to tell about it.
The mother of two went to a Texas doctor in 2008 to be treated for poor thyroid function and neck pain. She was prescribed a mixture of medication which proved deadly.
"The last prescription he gave her was Oxycodone. He also gave her Hydrocodone on the same day," says Chaney's mother Bette King. "That is a no no."
King waited frantically as paramedics tried to revive her daughter but it was too late.
The Texas doctor in Chaney's case had a history of problems but was still allowed to practice medicine and an investigation with our partners at USA Today shows that case is not unique.
Nationwide from 2001 to 2011, nearly 6,000 doctors had their clinical privileges restricted or revoked by hospitals. But 52 percent -- more than 3,000 -- were never fined or hit with license restrictions by their state medical board.
"The board's role is to protect the public," says Ruth Martinez, supervisor of the complain review unit of the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice.
The investigation found Minnesota's board chose not to act on 56 percent of the most serious cases reviewed.
"The board takes each complaint, investigates it and makes a decision based on the individual case," says Martinez.
When the board chooses not to act, Martinez says it's often because a remedy is already in place at the hospital level.
KARE 11 did find as recently as July 25th, Minnesota's board suspended the licenses of two doctors and Martinez insists each case of misconduct is thoroughly reviewed.
"We can never know that we are protecting patients 100 percent. We use the information that we have, we investigate to the best of our ability. The goal is always going to be public protection," says Martinez. "Can we ever know that we are absolutely protecting patients? We simply can't always know that."
If you have concerns, you can review any licensed physician through the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice website. You can also file complaints against doctors.
To read the national investigation from our partners at USA Today, click here.
(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. )