How Well Do You Know Your Team of Health Care Professionals and Your Legal Rights?
From arteriography to total hip replacements, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calculates that a total of 51.4 million medical procedures are performed annually. With this measure of volume one may wonder just how many licensed surgeons span the U.S. The answer is 41,070 as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also provides a breakdown by state and for those residing in California, the BLS calculates 5,000 individuals are currently responsible for healing the sick through innovative surgical procedures. This figure does not include the thousands of additional, instrumental healthcare workers in the state. For patients, choosing a medical professional can be confusing, and it is important to know if the doctor has ever been found guilty of medical malpractice.
As reported by Pew Research Center, those requiring the services of a practicing surgeon have admitted to beginning their road to wellness via the internet but according to research documentation, only one in five internet users have consulted online reviews and rankings of a health care service provider. For those, especially the elderly, who do not have access to the internet, is there an alternative method to review the disciplinary record of the surgeon who holds their health in their hands?Role of the California Medical Review Board
As each state provides oversight of medical licensure, states also fund medical review boards to sanction and document any form of licensure violation or medical malpractice claim. Access to this information is a patient’s legal right and California’s Medical Review Board or MBC is working on its website to make it more user friendly for those researching their chosen surgeon or healthcare provider.
Although this is progress, there is one point of contention facing the MBC during this reconstruction phase. As the MBC retains the authority to place physicians of all specialities on notice for alleged drug use, negligence, sexual harassment, it is also customary for the MBC to report all instances of medical malpractice to hospitals and insurance carriers. However, the one sector that is not notified is that of the patients.
While this may appear hypocritical, the MBC has instituted the Patient Notification Task Force in response to the Consumers Union petition for transparency as an advocacy affiliation of Consumer Reports.
As it stands presently, the MBC places the burden of proof in suspected cases of medical malpractice solely on the patients while the Consumers Union has petitioned and requesting that all practicing physicians, surgeons and other licensed specialists disclosure to their patients whether they are currently being investigated for possible negligence or medical malpractice or currently on probation. The newly formed MCB Patient Notification Task Force has yet to produce clear guidelines.
It appears that although patients have a legal right to this information, the controversy is in regard to whether or not medical professionals should divulge instances of infractions. Although the MCB is updating and making their website more inclusive of infractions, the question remains, should discovery remain the sole responsibility of the healthcare consumer?Need Additional Help?
If you or a loved one have experienced an instance of medical malpractice and even after filing a complaint with the MCB still need answers, contact the skilled San Jose medical malpractice attorneys of Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. Even in the difficult medical malpractice arena in California, our legal team remains dedicated to fighting for the rights of those who have been injured by medical negligence. Contact our offices today to learn more about your legal options.Sources