If there’s one piece of advice that patients are given when they’re diagnosed with a medical condition and told that they should consider having a surgery, it’s that they should weigh their options carefully. What most people mean when they say this is that patients shouldn’t assume that surgery is the best option for them as another treatment may be more ideal. Very few patients take this to mean that they should investigate their doctor. They should though.
A recent KSBY News Investigation showed just how easy it is for doctors that have had disciplinary action taken against them to hide their records from patients. The investigators found that this information often can’t be found using the California Medical Board’s (CMB’s) Breeze search tool.
One of the founders of the Patient Safety League (PSL) decided to set up a website, 4patientsafety.org, after struggling to find disciplinary action information for his own deceased family members’ doctors. His website makes it easier to find out whether a physician has previously been accused of medical negligence and what the outcome in such cases was.
The investigators found that using the PSL website to locate such information about a list of doctors took a mere 30 minutes to do. It took them hours to do the same when using the CMB’s system. When the investigators asked the CMB for help in performing their search, they were told that they would need to give the board two weeks and $130.
Even when the information was able to be pulled up by the investigators, it was lacking. They found that that the CMB’s Breeze system often didn’t show instances in which doctors had successfully petitioned California judges to dismiss their charges. PSL’s tracks this information though.
When this was brought to their attention, a CMB spokesperson simply responded that patients can pay to have detailed reports run on doctors, but that it will come at a steep cost. They noted that any such documentation won’t include physician names though. The spokesperson noted that concerned citizens could go to their local courthouse to look up such information on their own.
There are thousands of complaints filed against California doctors each year. Patients seldom know about these situations though. If you’ve been injured or have fallen ill due to your physician’s negligence, then a medical malpractice attorney can help you in seeking justice in your Redwood City case.