Have you ever wondered who’s looking out for you if you are the victim of medical malpractice? Unfortunately, it’s probably not state departments of health—at least that’s the case in at least one state. In fact, according to Public Citizen, a watchdog group, Florida ranks as the eight most lenient state when it comes to disciplining physicians who have committed medical malpractice.
While watchdog groups are important to keeping the public informed, critics continue to argue that the information they provide is simply anecdotal. Unfortunately, it is particularly difficult to separate what might just be anecdotal evidence without the cold, hard facts of medical malpractice reviews conducted by state health departments. However, until state health departments are willing to provide information about medical malpractice reviews to public scrutiny, we’ll be continually left in the dark.
The bottom line is that the secrecy surrounding medical malpractice complaints and how they are handled is unacceptable. Physician groups and their advocates continuously complain about frivolous medical malpractice suits. My question is how are consumers even supposed to know if their complaints are being investigated, how seriously are they taken, and to what extent are doctors disciplined for their mistakes as long as review processes remain confidential?