When Florida residents need medical care, they assume that the doctor they are seeing is well-versed in the field of medicine. But here’s a scary fact that will make someone think twice before choosing a doctor. An investigation shows that thousands of doctors who have injured or killed their patients through medical malpractice still continue to practice medicine.
One example is a Texas physician who killed a woman after prescribing her the wrong pain medications. Less than a year earlier, in 2008, another patient had died after the doctor gave her a deadly mix psychiatric medications and painkillers. Despite these incidences – any many others – the doctor still continued to practice medicine despite being on probation and fined thousands of dollars. It took four years of investigations to finally bar him from seeing patients.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case. State medical boards are often slow to punish doctors who have medical malpractice claims against them, resulting in thousands of doctors across the United States continuing to practice medicine. Even after serious misconduct has barred physicians from medical facilities and caused them to pay millions of dollars in claims, many still have their medical licenses.
The investigation shows that between 2001 and 2011, close to 6,000 doctors were barred from medical facilities due to misconduct. However, 52 percent of these doctors never faced fines or license restrictions. Even those doctors who were considered an immediate threat did not have their licenses taken away – or even restricted.
Although doctors are human just like the rest of us, they have a duty to care for their patients in the best way possible. Mistakes happen, but when one doctor repeatedly makes them, then certain actions need to be taken. Those seriously injured by a doctor’s negligence may find it useful to seek the advice of a legal professional.
Source: USA Today, “Thousands of doctors practicing despite errors, misconduct” Peter Eisler and Barbara Hansen, Aug. 20, 2013