If you're looking to pursue a career in medicine, you can do far worse than the medical programs throughout Pennsylvania. From Drexel to Penn State and UPenn, the Keystone State offers many fine educational options for future doctors. If you or your child are already enrolled in one of these medical programs, then you've conquered a critical step towards a future as a doctor.
Many medical students experience bumps along their path to graduation, though. Academic troubles, behavioral issues, and allegations of wrongdoing can mar your Dean's letter or even result in dismissal. In some cases, allegations are without merit. In other cases, the potential punishment for an offense is far harsher than what you should face. No matter what your personal circumstances are, an attorney-advisor can help with your medical school issue.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has made student defense his specialty, helping medical students in Pennsylvania and nationwide overcome challenges they may face on their journey to becoming doctors. Whether you're seeking an alternative to academic remediation or you want to clear your name of alleged wrongdoing, the Lento Law Firm can help.
Violations of Academic and Professionalism Standards at Pennsylvania Medical Programs
If you sign up to become a doctor, then you can expect to face some of the most stringent behavioral guidelines your university imposes. Programs like the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine rank among the nation’s elite—they expect students to abide by a behavioral gold standard.
Each medical program in Pennsylvania maintains a code of conduct. Students may violate their program's code of conduct by:
- Falling behind academically
- Testing positive for illicit drugs
- Committing academic misconduct—plagiarizing, obtaining answers before an exam, fabricating data, or committing any other prohibited act
- Disobeying faculty or medical advisors
- Being rude, short-tempered, or otherwise disrespectful to faculty, students, or third parties
- Falling short of patient care expectations
- Exhibiting any behavior inconsistent with a medical professional
Your school's expectations may lie within a broader Honor Code. That code may be similar to that of Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine, which demands “honesty, integrity, and civility” from each medical student.
If your school decides that you've failed to show these traits, it may permanently remove you from its student roster.
Dismissal From Medical School in Pennsylvania
The words can read like a punch to the gut: “dismissal.” When a medical student learns that they're facing possible expulsion, their world turns upside-down. While it's important to remain collected, you should take the possibility of dismissal seriously.
Your medical program may dismiss students when:
- They violate the terms of academic probation
- They're charged with a criminal offense—or in some cases, merely arrested
- They fail one or more drug screens
- They're found responsible for academic or professional misconduct
- They display a repeated lack of technical skill
Your school could dismiss you for these same reasons or any other reason it finds just. Don't assume that because your medical school admitted you, they'll be hesitant to expel you. This is not generally the case.
Medical schools in Pennsylvania generally allow you to defend yourself before dismissing you. At UPenn’s Perelman School of Medicine, for example, The Office of Student Affairs meets with a student and their advisor before issuing sanctions. Each medical program may have a unique variation on this adjudicative framework.
The age of COVID-19 has introduced additional ways for students to get into trouble. If your program determines you've violated health protocols, it may take swift and unforgiving action.
The consequences of dismissal may be irreparable. Your dismissal may:
- Prevent you from enrolling in another medical program
- Prevent you from becoming a doctor
- Saddle you with lifelong student debt
- Lead to depression and other psychological harm
- Cause immense damage to your reputation
An attorney-advisor will work hard to help you avoid expulsion. Depending on the circumstances, they may argue for leniency or complete dismissal of allegations against you.
Remediation for Medical Students in Pennsylvania
Remediation generally means retaking medical coursework—an exam, course, or entire year of study. Absences, poor academic performance, or failure of an essential exam may all be grounds for remediation.
The value of remediation varies case-by-case. For some students, remediation may be a saving grace that helps them avoid flunking out. For other students, remediation may be an unnecessary expense that can be avoided with a grade change petition.
Your school likely has a specific body that oversees remediation issues. At the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, that body is the Committee on Student Promotions. Such a committee may order you to undergo remediation and may also hear your appeal of a remediation order.
Remediation may exist permanently on your academic record. You may have to explain your remediation to residency admissions boards and future employers. Your attorney-advisor will explain any alternatives to remediation available to you.
Appealing Decisions Made by a Medical School in Pennsylvania
A capable medical school attorney-advisor may resolve your case without the need for an appeal. A persuasive defense, skillful negotiation, and an honest assessment of your character may do the trick. In some cases, though, these steps aren't enough to secure an acceptable outcome. Sometimes an appeal is necessary.
Appeals must be prompt and precise. Your medical school may have specific criteria for filing an appeal. Grounds for appeal generally include:
- The discovery of new and relevant evidence or information
- Bias in the original adjudicative proceedings
- Discord between the alleged offense and the sanctions handed out
A capable attorney-advisor will know your school's appeal proceedings well, even if they never have to file one. If an appeal becomes necessary, your attorney-advisor will file yours as quickly as possible.
Hire a Skilled Pennsylvania Medical School Attorney-Advisor
Whenever you hire an attorney-advisor, you should hire one with relevant experien