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Finding a “Good” Doctor

DoctorWhile it seems like there are doctors on every corner in this day and age, it can be quite difficult to find a doctor who both takes your insurance and gets along with you personally, to say nothing of being good at their job. People often settle for one who appears to be in good standing - but in truth, they may have a history of complaints and lawsuits. In order to avoid becoming one of them, there are things you can do or look for that may suggest a doctor is not for you.

Check Medical Boards

Most state medical boards, California’s included, maintain information on doctors’ disciplinary records, though there are limits on what can be posted and for how long. For example, public letters of reprimand, which are often used as a preliminary form of punishment for first offenses, may be posted only for 10 years following the relevant incident, and citations, which are even more mild notations in a doctor’s record, will only be posted for three years. After this period, such information is no longer available to the public in most cases.

Medical boards do have one significant weakness in terms of the information they provide, however; they are legally obligated to only post information on settled cases. If a doctor has matters pending, the medical board will almost certainly not report it. Also, depending on the offense, a medical board may not be sufficiently aggressive for your liking in disciplining a doctor. They may have done something for which they received a disproportionately light punishment.

Court Records

County courthouses will often have public records on lawsuits filed against specific doctors, though it is not uncommon for some records to be sealed if the information is highly personal or inflammatory. Most counties have online databases that can be searched by the public, and while you may not be able to view the entire record, you should be able to at least see if a physician has a history of complaints.

Be advised, however, that a court record will only show a record of a suit - it will not show what the suit was for. It is not uncommon for doctors in certain specialties to encounter many frivolous or over-exaggerated lawsuit claims - for example, oncologists and many who deal with the elderly may be sued for relatively insignificant issues such as alleged neglect or unacceptable bedside manner. The court may throw out these suits, but a doctor may still have a record of being sued a high number of times.

Contact a Malpractice Attorney

Unfortunately, despite due diligence, sometimes there is simply no way to know if a doctor is going to provide substandard care. If you get into a bad situation despite doing your homework, having a good medical malpractice attorney can be the thing that helps you get through a tough situation. The skilled San Jose medical malpractice attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. are well versed in this area of law and are happy to share the benefits of our experience with you. Call us today to set up a free consultation. We serve San Jose, the Bay Area, and the counties of Alameda, Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, and San Mateo.

Client Reviews
My experience with Attorney Brad Corsiglia during my recent medical malpractice case was nothing short of amazing given the very stressful circumstances. I was fortunate to find Brad highly recommended from a mutual contact and from the very beginning of the process, Brad was truly engaged and knowledgeable in understanding my case and providing input on what avenues were available to me. Michelle M.