We put our trust and health in the hands of medical professionals each and every day. With that in mind, most Americans would really want to know if their physician has been sued for medical malpractice. Unfortunately, thousands of U.S. physicians are on probation for issues such as drug addiction, unprofessionalism, and even sexual misconduct. And, the reason we may not know about it is because medical boards across the nation have thwarted attempts by patients to learn more about their doctors past transgressions.
A comprehensive list of medical providers and malpractice cases is collected by the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). Unfortunately, this information is not open to the general public. In fact, access is restricted to insurance companies, doctors, law enforcement and hospitals. Blocking access to medical provider's malpractice history means patients must rely on the information provided by state medical boards to determine a doctor's trustworthiness, which in and of itself, proves to be quite challenging.
When Consumer Reports investigated state medical boards, they found that accessing provider information was an extremely complicated process. Most of the time, it required patients to access the board's website and complete a lengthy request process to receive any information about providers. With such a difficult inquiry, it comes as no surprise that many individuals are in favor of more transparency in terms of physician records.
Although it would be nice to know about a medical provider's malpractice history prior to becoming a patient, it's much easier said than done. If you or a family member has been injured through the negligence of a medical professional, you may benefit by working with a medical malpractice attorney.