I had bad news for a client yesterday.
It turns out that she is not the only patient concerned about the care a local doctor has been giving. There are three current lawsuits against the doctor, alleging malpractice.
She erupted with the news. “How is he allowed to keep treating patients?” she asked.
I had to explain that sadly the judicial branch (courts) where individuals are held accountable for causing harm, has now power over a state’s board of medicine which holds physician licenses. The jury couldn’t revoke or suspend a bad doctor’s license, no more than a judge could order he or she to stop practicing and get more training. Only the Virginia Board of Medicine can do that and more often than not, they don’t investigate claims of bad care.. they focus on ethics issues such as physical relationships with patients, over prescribing pain pills etc.
So, the long and short of it is, so long as insurance carriers are willing to provide insurance – and hospitals and clinics are willing to hire doctors who have been sued time and time again, they get to keep practicing.
According to public citizen – http://www.citizen.org/Page.aspx?pid=1717 – Virginia is one of the better states in providing information on practitioners to interested parties. In fact, we are the second best in the country.
Want to look up a Virginia doctor – visit http://www.vahealthprovider.com and search by name.
Sadly, the following story hits close to home. We see it all the time – bad doctors, sued, sued, sued some more, still treating patients.