As we all know, medical malpractice is a serious issue in the healthcare industry, but what happens when a doctor faces multiple complaints? A recently released study in Florida found that many of the doctors with multiple medical malpractice accusations were surgeons and most payments were settlements. Surprisingly, a small number of these doctors had their license suspended or revoked.
Florida Doctor Has 15 Medical Malpractice Complaints Since 2000
A young woman visiting St. Petersburg Beach fell ill while there and was diagnosed by a physician as having appendicitis. She was immediately admitted to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy. After the surgery was completed, she stayed overnight in the hospital and proceeded to bleed to death. Her doctor and the hospital staff failed to notice that she had a falling blood pressure, rising heart beat, and other symptoms that led to her untimely death.
Shortly after this unfortunate incident, the doctor who performed the surgery settled a malpractice complaint for the limit of his policy, which was $250,000, and the hospital paid out $1 million to the victim’s family. The woman’s husband, also a doctor, made a complaint about the death of his wife to the Florida Department of Health. He later received a letter stating that there was no basis to file a complaint against the doctor in whose care his wife was under during the time of her death.
The doctor in this particular case had settled 14 medical malpractice complaints since 2000, including six cases where patients died during or after surgery. Despite the large number of complaints and insurance settlements against him, he is still operating with a clear Florida medical license with only one disciplinary case, which happened 10 years ago when he was ordered to pay a fine.
Florida Doctors with Medical Malpractice Complaints Stats
According to Health News Florida, an organization that analyzed the data of insurance pay offs on behalf of medical doctors between 2000 and October of 2016, these are some of the stats related to Florida doctors and medical malpractice settlements.
- 29 doctors had at least six paid claims, and 14 of those doctors had 10 or more
- Of the 29 doctors, most are in the latter stages of their career, and only one was a woman
- Only three of those doctors had their license suspended or revoked by the Board of Medicine
- 25 of the 29 are surgeons
- Almost all payments come from negotiated settlements
- Most of the 50,000 Florida doctors do not have paid claims reported
What if you are a victim of medical malpractice?
Unfortunately, many patients do not know that a doctor they are seeing has had medical malpractice complaints or settlements, because oftentimes, if the doctor is self-insured, the insurance settlements go unreported with the Office of Insurance Regulation.
However, if a patient feels that he/she has been a victim of medical negligence, there are a couple courses of action. One is that the patient can hire an experienced medical malpractice attorney and file a lawsuit against the medical provider or institution that acted in a negligent way. Additionally, the patient or family of the patent can file a complaint through the state’s regulatory agencies. The Department of Health investigates complaints against health care professionals, and the Agency for Health Care Administration investigates the actions of healthcare institutions.
In any situation where someone was injured or died as a result of the negligent actions of a health care provider, it’s vitally important that the victim or the victim’s family contact a medical malpractice attorney. Your attorney may be able to help you recover financially from your losses.
Gentry, C. (n.d.). Doctors With Multiple Malpractice Settlements Face Little Discipline In Florida. Retrieved August 04, 2017, from http://wlrn.org/post/doctors-multiple-malpractice-settlements-face-little-discipline-florida