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Palmer | Lopez Motto

How to Game the System: Medical Malpractice Edition


One thing that both doctors and medical malpractice attorneys agree with is that the current system is broken. While doctors lament “junk lawsuits” and the high costs of settling medical malpractice claims on their insurance, personal injury attorneys point to ineffective enforcement from state medical boards and other oversight agencies that reprimand doctors who cause their patients serious harm.

Doctors who lose their licenses, are reprimanded for unseemly conduct, or are otherwise forced to settle major medical malpractice lawsuits can simply move to a different state and begin practicing with a clean record. Of course, the success of this measure will vary greatly from one state to the next. But there are states where these doctors can go and practice with a clean record.

Publicly Disciplined and Barred From Practicing Medicine 

A recent study done by Medpage, in conjunction with Journal Sentinel, found that at least 500 doctors who had their licenses revoked or who faced serious public disciplinary action were practicing medicine in a different state. Some of these mistakes were so egregious that it would make you wonder if the offending doctor ever went to medical school at all. Others were conduct violations in which doctors were charged with untoward conduct relating to patients.

In one case, a doctor removed a healthy kidney from a patient during a colon surgery. The same doctor went on to remove a fallopian tube believing it to be an appendix. The doctor moved to New York, one of the states that conducts significant background checks on doctors. The doctor was forbidden to practice medicine there, so he moved on to Ohio.

In one case, a doctor who had several malpractice cases against him in Colorado moved here to Florida. In Colorado, he was charged with intentionally misdiagnosing patients with multiple sclerosis in order to bill their insurance companies for hundreds of thousands of dollars of useless tests. The doctor was facing seven malpractice lawsuits when he surrendered his license and moved to Florida, where he began to do the same thing. Patients who asked for second opinions were shocked to learn that they did not have MS as their doctor claimed. The doctor now faces medical malpractice lawsuits in Florida.

The System isn’t Catching Bad or Malicious Doctors 

While national databases exist that hold information related to doctors, the system isn’t fully utilizing that data to identify and restrict doctors with problematic histories. Doctors who have committed egregious acts of misconduct or malpractice in one state can simply pack up and leave for another where they often leave a string of injuries and dead bodies behind.

Indeed, we can all agree that fewer medical malpractice lawsuits would signal a move in the right direction. Yet too often, the regulatory bodies tasked with protecting the public from unfit doctors fails in their singular task.

Talk to a Tampa Medical Malpractice Attorney Today 

If you’ve been injured by medical negligence, the Tampa medical malpractice attorneys at Palmer | Lopez can help you recover damages. Talk to us today to set up a free consultation.


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