Many doctors continue to practice even after serious misconduct

Investigators with a major news outlet recently examined the National Practitioner Data Bank and other sources. Their examination determined that thousands of physicians are being allowed to treat patients in places like Chicago, even though they have been found to put patients at risk by state medical boards. These organizations have long been criticized for this reason in particular, but now there are defined figures associated with the problem. For instance, almost 6,000 doctors had their clinical privileges restricted in some way between 2001 and 2011, but more than 3,000 doctors either were not fined or never saw their medical license affected.

Some would consider the allowance of an infamous physician to practice in a medical center to be a hospital mistake. Giving a doctor that has a history of causing harm to her or his patients those privileges is a form of negligence on the part of the hospital and should be treated as such. Many people believe that if a doctor has been cited for serious misconduct, the physician should not be allowed to continue practicing medicine because it puts patients at risk with full knowledge of potential dangers. Approximately 900 physicians of those that were cited for malpractice, incompetence, negligence or substandard care were allowed to keep practicing without any action against their licenses.

In addition to that, about 800 of the 100,000 doctors who made payments toward malpractice claims between 2001 and 2011 accounted for 10 percent of the total malpractice payouts. This means that each of them averaged a $5.2 million payout. Even with this, less than 1 in 5 had their licenses affected. Though this speaks heavily on how effective the state medical boards are, it also contributes to the conversation about how patients should be wary of the events that occur when being cared for by a medical professional.

Source:
Green Bay Press Gazette, “Thousands of doctors practicing despite errors, misconduct” Peter Eisler and Barbara Hansen, Sep. 01, 2013

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Many doctors continue to practice even after serious misconduct