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Is Your Doctor on Probation?

San Jose Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Doctor With a StethoscopeThis is an important question, and one you may be surprised to know is currently harder to answer than you may realize. Although there are methods available to the public to ascertain the status of their physicians, these online website’s accuracy is dependent on the doctor informing the proper authorities regarding their probationary status, and also requires some effort on behalf of the patient seeking the records. A recently introduced California Senate Bill, SB-1033, if passed, would require that the doctor disclose his or her probationary status to patients before treatment, and that they be given the patient’s consent, in writing, before treatment commences. This bill has the possibility of saving lives, limiting medical negligence cases affecting innocent patients, and improving doctor-patient transparency on the important issue of one’s health.

How Many Doctors Are on Probation?

The good news is that less than one percent of licensed doctors in California are on probationary status. The bad news is that even the half of one percent of doctors that are on probation are, for the most part, freely able to continue treating patients without disclosing their status to those they are treating.

The Pros

The Medical Board of California previously suggested, but eventually struck down, requiring probationary status to be disclosed to patients. This is partly due to the fact that the information regarding a doctor’s status is available to the public, although it requires some digging that some, less technology-savvy individuals may not be familiar with. SB-1033 would eliminate the need for patients to take the time to conduct independent research regarding the professionals they are entrusting with their health.

Devil’s Advocate?

Other schools of thought maintain that patients should have at least some responsibility of due diligence in selecting their doctors. Especially with the multitude of databases, professional organization websites, and online reviews readily available to the public’s disposal, some believe that the obligation should be on the patient to determine their doctors are in good standing in the medical community and not under investigation.

However, professionals in the medical, legal, and financial fields, especially, have a heightened duty to their clients and patients than those in other professions. Transparency is necessary in these professions where the customer base seeks out assistance in these highly specialized areas in order to make decisions and rely upon the professional’s expertise. With the educational background, testing, continuing education requirements, licensing requirements, and reporting requirements, the public is not wrong to believe that the vast majority of the professionals they interact with will adhere to the standards of their profession. In the inevitable case of a few bad apples in the system, however, doctors that have reached probationary status have a significant possibility of harming more patients and/or eventually losing their medical license.

The Facts on Medical Doctor Probation

News sources reporting on the issue of physician probation recognize that many doctors who are on probation comply with the terms of their probation and have no further professional discipline inquiries. On the other hand, the Los Angeles Times also recently noted that many doctors faced additionally disciplinary action while they were on probation. This demonstrates that those on probationary status may still have the ability to harm their patients and cause irreparable injury; requiring doctors on probation to disclose their status to their patients allows the patient to determine whether they wish to continue the doctor-patient relationship, of, if in light of that information, they wish to seek medical treatment elsewhere. With the new bill, the information about a doctor’s status would be readily available to patients and patient’s loved ones in order to assist them in making an informed decision regarding their treatment.

San Jose Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Regardless of the status of your doctor, you have a right to competent medical treatment. At Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P., our skilled San Jose medical malpractice attorneys have helped our clients bring actions against doctors that have made irreparable mistakes. Whether an anesthesia or medication error, a surgical complication, or misdiagnosis, we believe that doctors should be held accountable for their actions. Doctors have significant obligations to their patients and you and your loved ones are entitled to information regarding your healthcare provider. Our knowledgeable California medical negligence lawyers serve the greater Northern California region; reach out to our San Jose office toll free at (408) 289-1417 today.

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.