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How to find out if your doctor was sued for medical malpractice and if he or she was, should you worry about it?

medical-malpracticeIf you learn that your doctor was sued for medical malpractice, should you immediately change doctors? A recent article in Consumer Reports  explains how patients can find information about their doctor and what they should do about it.

Not every doctor who was sued for medical malpractice is a bad doctor.  Consumer Reports talked to Michelle M. Mello, a Professor of Law and of Health Research and Policy  at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Mello is an expert on the medical malpractice system, medical error and patient safety. She told Consumer Reports that very often medical malpractice lawsuits “are not the best indicator of substandard care” for several reasons.  For example:

  • The lawsuit may settle before a trial without the doctor admitting his error
  • The lawsuit may be directed against the doctor even though it was hospital negligence
  • Doctors dealing with patients at higher risk of dying have a higher risk of being sued

If you learn that your doctor was involved in a medical malpractice suit Consumer Reports suggests that you consult your state medical board to check if your doctor has a history of medical malpractice or if it was only one instance. Usually bad doctors have a pattern of medical malpractice.  If you live in NY State you can consult the New York State Physician Profile to find out if your doctor was sued for medical malpractice. If you discover that your doctor had multiple malpractice cases  then you should be worried and consider looking for another doctor.

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Picture source: courtesy of the Blue Diamond Gallery