The news that three independent physicians reviewed the work of Dr. David Chao and found him qualified to be the team doctor for the San Diego Chargers has not satisfied the NFL Players Association.
NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said in a statement to the Associated Press that concerns remain about whether Chao is an appropriate choice to provide treatment to players on the Chargers, based on a past history of losing malpractice lawsuits.
“The fact is that despite having previous malpractice liability judgments against him, neither the Chargers nor the NFL initiated an inquiry or provided any oversight of the doctor the team selected to provide care for our players,” Smith said.
According to the Associated Press, Dr. Chao has been accused of negligence and failure to maintain adequate medical records, that he was ordered to pay $5.2 million to a former patient (not a Chargers player) in a malpractice case last summer, and that he was publicly reprimanded by the Medical Board of California after he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence.
Smith sees a pattern of conduct from Dr. Chao that point to a larger issue with the players, namely that they want more oversight on how team doctors are chosen.
“The NFLPA will take every step to hold the NFL and its member clubs accountable to provide the care that they are mandated to provide,” Smith said. “Dr. Chao’s previous medical liability issues only increases our desire to engage in a thorough and comprehensive credentialing process to determine which physicians are providing care to our players and how they were selected by the teams.”
For now, however, Dr. Chao remains the team doctor.