Medical malpractice cases can be difficult to win depending on the details of the case. This is in part because of our innate desire and need to trust doctors as experts and figures of authority. But doctors are fallible human beings, some even committing a string of mistakes or bad behaviors. In cases of medical malpractice, finding your doctor’s disciplinary history can be crucial to making your case.
Medical doctors who engage in illegal behaviors, commit ethics violations, or commit medical errors can receive disciplinary actions from their state’s medical boards and can be put on probation by those boards. Physicians, however, are not required to inform patients of probations, disciplinary actions, or malpractice payouts. This information is available on the National Practitioner Data Bank, but the data bank is not accessible by patients or individuals. Though efforts have been made by various groups, including Consumer Reports’ Safe Patient Project, to increase transparency, disciplinary records for healthcare professionals are still largely inaccessible to patients.
Not to mention the fact that while under disciplinary action or probation, these physicians are generally still practicing, even those with numerous violations and complaints against them. This seems like just a slap on the wrist when one considers that probationary punishments may be nothing more than the requirement to complete assigned courses, without any requirement to inform patients of the disciplinary action.
This means that patients may be unknowingly seeing a doctor with a record of malpractice or unethical behaviors, and may become the victims of medical malpractice themselves. It is possible that the malpractice a patient experiences, for example, a medication error, could be part of a larger pattern of behavior; if the physician has a demonstrated history of making medication errors, that information could strengthen your claim. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can obtain your physician’s disciplinary history and use that information to build your case.
If you believe that you have been a victim of medical malpractice, get the help of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Contact the Epstein Law Firm today. 773-522-7000