RENO, Nev. (KRNV) — Minden resident Heidi Keen thought she might lose her life after serious complications from surgery in 2017.
"I was dizzy and I was losing color," she said. "And I'm thinking to myself this is it. I was losing so much blood. I really was seriously scared."
Keen filed a complaint with the Nevada State Medical Board in January of 2019, almost four years ago.
And it's not resolved yet.
She says every update she gets from the Medical Board is the same. Basically, there is no update.
"It's still under review, it's still under review," she said when reciting what she is repeatedly told by the Board.
The Nevada Medical Board would not discuss the status of any complaints it has received and no one from the Medical Board would speak on camera for this story. But the Executive Director told us the typical timeline for an investigation once a complaint is filed 6 to 12 months.
But we found lagging investigations were highlighted in a recent legislative audit of the Nevada Medical Board.
Auditors tracked dozens of cases from start to finish and found,
"The complaint resolution process can take as long as several years to finalize."
They also pointed out what may be the biggest concern:
"Excessive amounts of time to finalize complaints... allows potentially dangerous providers to continue serving patients."
The audit recommends better monitoring and oversight of the investigative process.
The Medical Board, meantime, has responded with its own ten page corrective action plan.
The goal it says is to speed up investigations by adopting stricter deadlines and flagging cases which may involve danger to public safety as "high priority."
It remains to be seen how much of an impact the changes will have.
But patients like Keen say the Medical Board needs to take action sooner in these cases to better protect the public.
"I think they should at least suspend or something while they review the complaints," she said.
That corrective plan submitted by the Medical Board will be reviewed by the state auditor in February to determine whether it addresses all the issues raised in the audit.
Heidi Keen is still waiting to hear the outcome of her complaint, again going on four years now. Her doctor's license is still listed as active on the Medical Board's website.