Established in 1902, the West Virginia University School of Medicine (WVUSOM) was the first of its kind in Morgantown and is one of three operating medical schools in the state. WVUSOM enjoys a stellar reputation, and graduates look forward to exciting and rewarding careers once they complete their programs. However, unsatisfactory academic performance or professional violations can impact a student's future career as a doctor, especially when sanctions threaten to postpone graduation.
It is a well-known fact that medical school comes with heavy responsibilities. Whether it's their staggering course load or dealing with personal problems, several factors get in the way of a student's progress – and students pay the ultimate price. With the additional burden of a sanction or hearing, students may buckle under the pressure of keeping up and staying enrolled. An attorney-advisor understands the challenges that medical students face when dealing with sanctions, ensuring that they receive a fair hearing and drafting appeals when sanctions are unreasonable.
Student Code of Integrity
WVUSOM's code of integrity outlines the professional standards students must maintain as members of the institution. The emphasis of the code is to encourage professional integrity and encourage students to exhibit behavior befitting of their future positions as doctors. Students wishing to study medicine at WVUSOM must pledge to follow the Student Code, which stipulates that:
“The practice of the art and science of medicine must be based on reverence for life, compassion, and respect for the patient, competence, and integrity. Hence, the School of Medicine expects its students to exhibit compassion; to be considerate and respectful towards patients, their families, instructors, staff, and each other; to grow in knowledge and clinical skill; and to act honorably at all times”.
Students must act honorably and demonstrate professionalism in all areas of their personal, academic, and professional lives. The Associate Dean for Student Services manages grievances and addresses issues raised by students and instructors.
Students that commit offenses against the code face penalties that include verbal and written warnings, loss of privileges, probation, deferred suspension, suspension, expulsion, and even degree revocation. As some of these punishments are life-altering, students aware of impending code violation accusations should contact an attorney-advisor immediately. Although an advisor can assist medical students at any part of the process, the earlier students have support, the likelier it is that their case will end favorably.
Although some students assume that behavior alone determines their progress in medical school, grades are just as crucial to maintaining good academic standing. Students who are failing their courses or who chronically underperform must take remediation courses to remain in medical school. The Committee on Academic and Professional Standards or the Dean may place students under academic probation unless they improve their performance.
Remediation is not always a welcome answer for students, especially those overburdened with their studies and personal responsibilities. While they may cause some delays or even incur additional expenses, remediation courses are the only way that some students can graduate. Since students are training to be doctors, they must demonstrate a thorough understanding of their coursework because they will be in positions of public trust. While not the ideal solution for some students, it is often the only one that prevents them from expulsion.
Permanent discharge from WVUSOM is for severe or multiple offenses committed by students. Expelled students face obstacles that they may not be aware of if they want to re-enroll in another program, such as:
- Note on permanent record. A notation on a student's permanent record describing their discharge due to a professional violation is debilitating. Admissions officers prefer to choose applications with no outstanding issues instead of one that contains potential problems in the future.
- Loss of time and effort. Medical school is notoriously difficult to complete, and it takes years to graduate. Students may have to start over with a permanent discharge, even if they are nearing the end of their program.
- Financial difficulties. Student loans are a fact of life – but an expulsion leads to heavier financial repercussions. With a new program, students may have to take on additional loans, not counting personal expenses that add up quickly and cause crippling debt.
After a hearing, students receive the panel's decision regarding recommended sanctions. Students who wish to appeal the panel's decision must send a letter within five business days after receiving the decision to the Dean. The Dean only accepts appeals to determine if the process was fair, if new evidence may change the hearing's outcome, or if the sanctions imposed on the student are proportionate to the violation.
After the Dean conducts a review of the appeal, the student receives a response within 30 days of submitting the request. The Dean can choose to accept the current sanctions, modify them, or remove them in light of the evidence. An attorney-advisor helps students draft appeals that can make all the difference in their final case outcome. Experienced advisors help students through the process and ensure that their clients receive equitable and fair treatment despite the allegations.
Hiring an Attorney-Advisor
With so much at stake, it's no wonder that medical students may panic when they receive notice of a violation. Whether the alleged infarction was a mistake or completely false, harsh penalties threaten to derail the student's dream of becoming a doctor permanently.
An attorney-advisor knows what medical students and their families are going through, especially with much on the line. Advisor Joseph D. Lento works with medical students across the country facing similar allegations and helps them generate a plan for success.
A lapse in judgment or unsubstantiated allegations should not wholly alter your career path. Attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento works with students facing professional misconduct violations, boosting their confidence and allowing them to breathe easier during the process.
If you or a loved one receive notice of academic concerns or professional misconduct allegations from the West Virginia University School of Medicine, don't wait until it's too late to address the concerns as best as possible. Call the Lento Law Firm today to discuss your options at 888-535-3686.