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Doctors with History of Medical Malpractice Often Go Without Punishment

This weekend the Kansas City Star published a story on the often lax treatment provided to doctors who are guilty of repeated instances of medical malpractice. When chronic negligent physicians go without penalty, many unsuspecting victims are harmed in the process. It is important for these downright dangerous medical professionals to be rooted so for that future victims are spared.

The latest article shared the story of one woman who visited a neurosurgeon to have a relatively routine procedure performed-the draining of a pool of blood from the surface of her brain. However, the woman and her family did not know that the surgeon had been sued at least sixteen times before for medical malpractice. At least one of those former victims had died as a result of the medical error and several others had suffered permanent paralysis and other complications. Even before many of those suits, one health care organization denied he man clinical privileges because they were concerned about the quality of care that he was capable of providing.

That history of poor care was hidden from the woman who visited the doctor for the blood draining procedure. Unfortunately, it seemed that the doctor made another mistake in her case. The woman awoke from the surgery to find herself paralyzed on the right side of her body and unable to speak. She had suffered a brain injury during the operation. She never fully recovered. Over the next few days her condition deteriorated before she eventually slipped into unconsciousness and died.

The example highlights the extreme danger presented to many unsuspecting patients when medical professionals who are repeatedly found liable for malpractice are allowed to continue to practice without consequence. Many states provide little oversight of doctors, allowing them to practice without penalty no matter how many or how egregious their conduct.

Unlike what some believe, most doctors do not face repeated medical malpractice lawsuits. As one advocate explained, “If you’re a doctor with more than two malpractice payments, you’re in a rare group.” Data indicates that fewer than 2% of doctors accounted for half of the malpractice payments over the last ten years. That indicates that there are often particularly negligent physicians who are allowed to continue to practice and continue to harm patients in their care. Improving patient safety requires medical boards to take a closer look at those repeat offenders.

The Illinois medical malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti understand that the majority of healthcare professionals in our area work day in and day out to help save the lives of community members. They should be applauded for their work. However, there are always some doctors who are guilty of repeated unreasonable conduct and mistakes that seriously harm and even kill some local patients. In those cases, it is important for victims to have access to the legal justice system. In addition, we urge all local patients to take advantage of the soon-to-be released online database that will allow them the chance to learn about their doctor’s past history, including their previous medical malpractice payouts.

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