One of the many steps you should take when looking for a doctor for a complicated medical procedure is to research his or her medical malpractice record. This information may not be readily available, but with some research, you can find out if a doctor has faced or lost medical malpractice suits in the past.
How to Research a Doctor’s Medical Malpractice Record
Check State Licensing
Check your state’s medical licensing board first. A suspended license means your search doesn’t have to progress any further. However, even a current license will probably only be accompanied by basic information.
Now it’s time to search the internet for information. Plug in the doctor’s name in a search engine along with words such as malpractice or lawsuit. For more general information, try searching the name with news. This should turn up enough information to give you a fuller picture of a doctor’s history.
Remember that when gathering information, some of it may be contradictory, and some of it may be incomplete and suggest things that are not true. For example, a doctor may have faced malpractice suits in one state, left, and started to practice in a new state. In that state, there will be no record of his or her medical malpractice, even though it did occur. This is why it’s important to research all of a doctor’s history.
On the other hand, just because a doctor has faced a malpractice suit, this does not necessarily mean he or she did not provide an acceptable standard of care. The patient may have had unrealistic expectations that were not met, and decided to file a suit, for example.
One final thing to note during your research is the presence of physicians on ratings and rankings sites. "What they don’t tell you is that some surgeons, in order to keep their ratings high, will not accept certain patients that may be at a higher risk for problems. That better record may indicate a surgeon is better than another with a higher mortality rate, when in fact, another surgeon who is willing to take different risks may be a better choice for some patients."