Sometimes you find out your doctor was negligent while you are still in the hospital and receiving care. Other times, it is weeks or months down the road before you find out something is wrong. Both situations can add to the time and money it takes to get better.
What you may not consider is how many times this has happened before. You know this doctor was negligent with your care, but there may have been other patients before you who had a similar situation.
Here’s what you need to know about what happens when a doctor commits malpractice more than once.
Some specialties tend to have more malpractice
There are dozens of different areas of medicine, each with its own risks and differences in contact with patients. The differences between specialties can have an impact on potential malpractice claims. The specialties with the most malpractice claims include:
- internal medicine
- obstetrics and gynecology
- general surgery
- general practice/family medicine
Although these physicians have more claims than others, the more significant factor is whether a doctor had multiple claims in the past. The most significant predictor of future claims is numerous instances of past claims.
There is only so much you can know
Some types of medical malpractice are part of the public record, and other medical malpractice records are sealed. Sealed records do not always mean that the malpractice was specifically terrible. Sometimes sealed records are part of a settlement agreement.
It can be worrisome, however, when patients cannot find out a doctor’s past malpractice claims; especially when the list may be long. Unfortunately, one-third of all malpractice claims fall on just one percent of doctors.
How many claims are too many?
There is no cut and dry answer to how many times a doctor can commit malpractice before losing their license. While the licensing board keeps track of physician discipline, they look more to the types of offenses and potentially dangerous habits, rather than the total.