In 2013 the prestigious Journal of Patient Safety published a study that as many as 440,000 patients die each year from preventable medical errors. That would make medical errors the third-leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease, which is the first, and cancer, which is second.
These people are not dying from the illnesses that caused them to seek hospital care in the first place. They are dying from mistakes that hospitals could have prevented. What are these fatal errors?
A New England Journal of Medicine January 28, 2016 study reported that 1% of physicians accounted for 32% of paid malpractice claims over the last 10 years. The ugly truth is that little is being done to hold these dangerous doctors accountable.
Researchers found the “bad” doctors showed “distinctive characteristics,” including having paid previous malpractice claims. So it stands to reason that health-care providers could eliminate 1/3 of medical malpractice—along with patients’ pain and suffering, as well as the added costs of corrective surgeries, long-term care and indemnity payments—by removing the worst 1% of doctors.
WHY AREN’T BAD DOCS STOPPED FROM PRACTICING?
The answer lies at least partially in the National Practitioner Data Bank, a clearinghouse for information on medical malpractice that Congress established in 1986 to help state licensing boards police the health-care industry.
The national database was supposed to help states identify dangerous doctors and prevent them from harming more patients…..And is used by hospitals, insurers, and licensing boards to track doctors’ records, check prospective hires, and make other decisions
But it is virtually useless in holding doctors accountable because, by federal law, none are listed by name. They are assigned a random number to protect their identities.
Even if doctors were identified in the data, as they should be, the public would still be barred by law from accessing the records. So vulnerable, sick patients sit in the waiting rooms of bad physicians without a clue about their poor record of performance.
And In most cases… a negligent doctor’s insurance company pays the victim of malpractice, and the doctor goes back to work. If the doctor develops a bad enough reputation in one town, he can move to a new state and continue practicing. This is unbelievable!
BUT today the public does not have access to the database to identify doctors’ names and addresses to identify doctors with uniquely long histories of being sued or disciplined for medical malpractice.
Because, on September 01, 2011, the government cut off public access — What was behind that decision? Apparently, one Kansas doctor with a trail of malpractice suits. Dr Robert Tenny
The Kansas based doctor complained to the government, Health Resources and Services Administration that the Kansas City Star newspaper was publishing the story of one of his patients, Marybeth Chase, who died in 2007 after undergoing a brain surgery with Dr. Tenny. It also noted that Tenny had been sued at least 16 times for medical malpractice but had never been disciplined by the state’s licensing boards.
The Insider Exclusive produced a TV story on this case, with the lawyers who represented Marybeth’s family, “When Doctors Go Bad: Maribeth Chase v Dr Robert T. Tenny”.
Tenny finally settled the Chase family’s wrongful death suit for $1,010,000. The settlement brought total malpractice payments paid on Tenny’s behalf since the early 1990s to roughly $3.7 million. federal records indicate. In some states, including California, Colorado, Georgia and New York, patients can go to medical boards’ websites to find out about doctors’ malpractice histories. But not in Kansas and Missouri.
WHY DON’T DOCTORS REPORT ON BAD DOCS?
Physicians often see the mistakes made by their peers, which puts them in a sticky ethical situation: Should they tell the patient about a mistake made by a different doctor? Too often they don’t. WHY NOT?
One reason …is that doctors depend on each other for business. So, a physician who breaks the code of silence may become known as an “informer” or “snitch”, and lose referrals, a financial penalty.
Doctors also may be wary of becoming entangled in a medical malpractice case, or causing a colleague to face legal consequences. The bottom line: Too often doctors aren’t learning from errors. Nor are patients getting the information they need to receive proper treatment or compensation when the outcome is harmful.
IN THIS INSIDER EXCLUSIVE NETWORK TV SPECIAL, “JUSTICE IN AMERICA – Randy Powell’s Story”, we visit with Benjamin Scott, Ptr @ Barnett, Bennett, & Scott LLP law firm, Randy Powell’s mother, Shirley Powell.
As we take you inside today’s legal system, examining Ben’s strategies, and his client’s thoughts, and in vivid detail…. showing you the often-heartbreaking stories of cases like his client…. Randy Powell, who Ben is fighting for justice in this featured medical malpractice case against Dr Joel Kahn
These victims could be you or me one day…. And if you are so unlucky… you will quickly find out that Justice in America is a hard-won battle, where very few Insurance Companies, Doctors, Nurses and Hospitals ever…. “Do the Right Thing” …and you need experienced and passionate trial lawyers, like Benjamin Scott, Partner at Barnett, Bennett, & Scott, who wage these battles with their own financial resources to get justice for their clients.
You can contact Benjamin Scott, Partner at Barnett, Bennett, & Scott, at https://www.wrongfulinjury.com/ and 707.425.0671