What If Your Doctor Has a History of Medical Malpractice Lawsuits?

Posted on May 11, 2016 at 11:07am by

medical-malpractice-examplesIf you recently did a search on the internet and found that your doctor has a history of medical malpractice lawsuits, you will no doubt start to worry about your own safety. When quizzed about whether or not you should be worried about a doctor’s history of malpractice, experts are split down the middle.

Does a Medical Malpractice Suit Mean Bad Doctoring?

Many medical malpractice cases are settled before ever going to court. In these cases, it’s common for neither party to ever admit guilt. Often, insurers will settle a medical malpractice case rather than go to trial because they think the settlement may cost less than the trial. It could also be true that the doctor is named as a primary defendant when the real fault really should rest with the hospital.

Also, doctors who regularly practice on patients who are more sick are more prone to lawsuits because the outcomes are typically worse. Even the best of doctors could potentially have a medical malpractice lawsuit on their record. Dr. Matthew Wynia, the University of Colorado School of Medicine’s director of the center for bioethics and humanities, says it is “unrealistic” to hold doctors to a standard of never making a mistake in their life.

When Should You Worry About a Doctor’s Malpractice History?

One, maybe even two settled medical malpractice lawsuits may not necessarily be a sign to worry. However, if your physician seems to have a pattern of medical malpractice, you may have cause to worry.

In a study conducted by Consumer Reports, about 15 percent of the 1.25 million practicing physicians going back to 1990 have had one medical malpractice payout. Only 2 percent have had more than one payout. It’s those 2 percent that you have to watch out for, according to Dr. Wynia.

In order to find a physician’s malpractice payout history, contact your state medical board. The board is responsible for issuing medical licenses, as well as handling disciplinary measures for doctors who have committed medical malpractice.

The Cape May medical malpractice attorneys at Targan Pender & Strickland, P.C. have a wealth of experience in dealing with medical malpractice cases.



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2 Responses to What If Your Doctor Has a History of Medical Malpractice Lawsuits?

  1. Avatar for Robert Oshel Robert Oshel says:

    There is an error in your story. The study in Consumer Reports was not “by” the National Practitioner Data Bank. I conducted it for Consumer Reports using the Data Bank’s Public Use Data File. Although I am retired from the Data Bank — I was Associate Director for Research and Disputes before my retirement — it is not correct to say the study was conducted “by” the Data Bank.

    Robert E. Oshel, Ph.D.

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