A year-long CBS investigation of America’s state medical boards has revealed the sad truth that the boards are not doing their job to keep patients safe. Instead, they are protecting physicians by looking the other way and not taking any action against those who are repeatedly guilty of medical malpractice.
Doctors “Policing” Doctors Results in Negligent Oversight
Perhaps this should come as no surprise, given that state medical boards are comprised of politically appointed physicians who have what a former board director calls an “inherent conflict of interest” when it comes to disciplining those of their own profession. Unfortunately, when doctors police other doctors, patients are the ones who suffer, while physicians with a long history of problems are allowed to continue practicing medicine and harming more victims.
National Data on Medical Malpractice Reveals Serious Problem
Data collected on medical malpractice reveals the seriousness of this problem. According to the Health and Human Services’ National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), less than 2% of doctors are responsible for more than half of all malpractice settlements and awards. Many of these doctors are, in fact, liable for repeated episodes of harmful medical negligence, and yet they have faced no meaningful disciplinary action. In addition, since the data bank does not include names, patients have no way to even find out if their physicians have repeatedly harmed other patients.
Medical Errors Are Third Leading Cause of Death in U.S.
The incidence of medical errors nationwide is extraordinary and deeply concerning. Analyzing data over an eight-year period, Johns Hopkins patient safety experts have calculated that more than 250,000 deaths per year are due to medical errors: This staggering number makes medical malpractice the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney Sees the Irreparable Harm Negligent Doctors Cause
The failure to adequately regulate the provision of medical care contributes to these staggering statistics. As a medical malpractice attorney with over twenty-five years of experience prosecuting medical negligence cases, I am well aware of the dangers posed by negligent oversight of bad doctors. Many clients have, in fact, been irrevocably harmed by physicians who had previously escaped serious disciplinary action against them from the Florida Board.
Although we have been able to win substantial compensation for many seriously injured clients, far better governmental oversight of careless doctors and other healthcare providers is critical. Meaningful oversight of the medical profession would go a long way toward protecting patients and preventing catastrophic injuries in the first place. Stricter disciplinary action against negligent doctors and user-friendly databases on medical malpractice cases are needed to help protect patients from harmful healthcare.