You need a physician, but you want to perform your due diligence by researching and making sure the physician you pick is not only covered by the insurance, but someone you can trust. Medical doctors are like anyone else – they make mistakes. However, those mistakes can cost people their lives or permanently change the quality of their life.
There are ways to research and see if a physician has had malpractice claims filed against them in the past – and you may even see open cases that are pending.
One Quick Consideration While You Research
Just because a physician has had a claim against them does not necessarily mean they are a bad medical doctor. That said, if they have a claim, you should proceed with caution. Not all of the details surrounding that claim will be available, so you will not have both sides of the story letting you know the extent of the physician’s errors.
How to Research a Doctor and Make Sure They Are the Right, Safe Physician for You and Your Loved Ones
Choosing a doctor is a big decision. Your relationship with a care provider is quite intimate, and they may end up knowing more about you than close relatives. You put a lot of trust into a care provider – whether it is a specialist, family practitioner, or even a dentist. For peace of mind, you have numerous routes for investigating a potential care provider and seeing if they are the right fit for you and your family.
Doctor Rating Websites
While these will not tell you if a physician has any past or pending malpractice claims, it can give you insight into their care practices and what other patients have experienced. Some rating sites will include disciplinary action, but these are often outdated. So, do not rely on this as your sole source, but more of a complement to another research.
Some warning signs to look out for in the reviews include:
- Continuous complaints about communication errors or inability to reach the physician. Communication problems can lead to malpractice claims like prescription errors, failure to follow-up, etc. When a physician has an inability to communicate, critical errors often follow.
- Complaints or accusations of malpractice. Patients may say outright that they suffered an injury or adverse medical result because of that physician’s care practices.
Taking Reviews with a Grain of Salt
One drawback to reviews is that they are peer and patient reviews, but not an actual resource for telling you if a physician has any official disciplinary actions against them. Just like reviews for your favorite restaurant, you should take negative ones with a grain of salt and only consider them alongside other factual evidence.
State Medical Boards and Licensing
Your state medical board is the best place to find information on pending disciplinary action. You can use the American Medical Association tool, which points you in the direction of your state’s licensing board. These boards will have all disciplinary actions, suspensions, and malpractice claims against that physician.
Physician Data Center Website
Always check here to see your physician’s education verification, certifications, and licenses. You may find that a physician has been suspended or has a temporary suspension on their license. A suspension does not always mean malpractice, however. So, if you see a suspension in a medical professional’s history, do not assume that they caused patient harm. Instead, suspensions can happen for a variety of reasons, including a lapse in continuing education requirements, paperwork filings, payment of dues, or pending disciplinary action.
Remember to Look Out of State
Your state’s medical board will only have data on the physician while he or she practiced there. So, make sure you look at other states where the doctor has practiced. Often, a physician with numerous malpractice claims may move to another state for a fresh start, which means if you only reviewed their history in that state, you would only see positives instead of potential negatives.
Some state medical boards will transfer data over, while others do not. Inquire at your local board whether they do carry over that information.
Finding the Kentucky Board of Medicine
In Kentucky, you can review a physician’s profile using this online tool. It will tell you everything from that physician’s name to address, license number and expiration (as well as status), the type of practice, years licensed in the state, and any board action. You can also verify their medical school and when they graduated. If you see a large gap between graduation and the start of their license in Kentucky, that might indicate they practiced out of state.
To receive information, you will need to mail a formal request to the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure, fax it, or email for those records.
Are You the Victim of Malpractice? You Have Rights!
If you or a loved one were injured in an act of malpractice, you have options. Not only should you report that act to your state’s medical licensing board for further review, but you should also speak with a malpractice attorney to explore your options.
When a physician causes harm due to malpractice, victims are entitled to compensation. Compensation comes in various forms, including:
- Covering medical costs related to the injury or illness encountered.
- Lost wages or loss of earning capacity after injury.
- Changes in the quality of life.
- Physical, mental, and emotional pain you suffered as a result.
If you or a loved one was the victim of malpractice and you need help seeking compensation from that physician, contact attorney Seth Gladstein from the Gladstein Law Firm PLLC. You can discuss your case during a no-obligation case evaluation to learn more about your options and see if you have a valid malpractice claim against your physician.