Negligence and patient notification

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

When a New York doctor is sanctioned for negligence, more than three-fourths of them are permitted to continue with their practice. The state has more than 102,000 licensed doctors, and very few have sanctions against them. However, a minimum of 300 doctors were sanctioned between 2004 and 2013, but they have suffered no lasting penalties.

Current laws do not require that patients be advised if their doctor is practicing while sanctioned. A survey questioned people and asked them if they would want to know if their doctor had been sanctioned. The New York Public Interest Research Group also wondered if the government should provide further oversight of physicians in the cases, which include all types of issues, such as an overuse of tests and medical malpractice.

NYPIRG recommended that a new law be passed in order to protect patients by advising them if their doctor has been sanctioned by the state. However, information on a physician’s status can be found on the state website or through a hotline number. The agency doesn’t think that most patients are aware of the availability of this information and want medical facilities to post the information.

The New York Department of Health is in charge of overseeing doctor issues. While they did not provide a specific interview, they released a statement that emphasized their position on misconduct and said it was a serious concern. They observed that some situations can be remedied through training, monitoring or mentoring. A medical malpractice attorney might be able to seek compensation for a client who was not aware of licensing issues with a doctor if they sustain further damage from the physician.

Source: Buffalo Business First, “Report: New York patients deserve to know if a doctor is cited for negligence“, David Robinson, May 20, 2014

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