Checking a Doctor's Disciplinary History

John Fisher
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Stopping Medical Injustice

In almost every instance in which one receives medical care, the patient gets to choose the doctor and or the hospital from which to receive services.  Now of course, if one is found unconscious, the first responders may choose the hospital for the patient.  And in rural areas, patients might have only one hospital to choose from and little choice between doctors.

With that said, most people do have a choice.  How does one choose and how does one check to see if doctors and hospitals have received complaints and or been disciplined?

The experienced Kingston medical malpractice attorney knows that many people will simply choose their closest local physician and hospital.  People also ask friends and family for doctor recommendations.  But there are more ways to find out about doctors that can be more reliable as to formal complaints, suspensions, and licensure revocations.  

Regardless if you live in New York or some other state, patients can use national databases to check and see if a specific doctor has been disciplined.  The Federation of State Medical Boards maintains such a database and a simple web search can get curious parties the information desired.  

Each state licenses its own doctors, so many states also maintain their own web databases.  For example, the New York State Department of Health has a web tool on their site that allows people to search for physicians’ and physicians assistants’ license numbers.  Since the New York State Education (NYSED) Department formally licenses physicians in New York, one can contact this department to see if a physician is licensed.  Their Office of Professional Medical Conduct completes investigations into medical professional misconduct.  NYSED also has a web portal through which people can see if any disciplinary action has been taken against a medical professional.

If you want to see if your doctor or potential doctor is board certified in a specialty, the American Board of Medical Specialties maintains the pertinent lists.  Again, this can be accessed via the internet.  But for those people wishing to contact any of the above agencies or entities in a way other than through the internet, the phone can be used as well.  

Lawsuits can also indicate if a doctor is good or bad too.  If a doctor has been sued, perhaps more than once, court records would reveal that the doctor has been a defendant at some point.  Therefore, accessing court records is another option for patients.  Note, however, that being sued does not automatically mean that the doctor did something wrong.  For example, the case might have been dismissed in the doctor’s favor.  Maybe the doctor settled the case simply to be rid of the issue, etc.

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected]  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.

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