Why It’s Not Easy to Find Out About Your Doctor’s Past

Connecticut residents put their trust in medical professionals for their health care needs, but doctors do sometimes make mistakes. Doctors are often disciplined by state medical boards for errors and ethics violations, but according to Consumer Reports, people who want to know about their own doctor’s disciplinary record could have difficulty obtaining the information.

The Consumer Reports investigation focused on physicians in California. It revealed that 500 physicians were on probation as of September 2015. The offenses that led to probation included sexual misconduct with patients, surgical errors, DUI arrests while on duty and prescription drug acquisitions that were unaccounted for.

While the magazine was able to obtain information about doctors who are on probation and has published its findings online, it says that individuals do not have access to the database that collects information on malpractice and disciplinary actions against doctors.

A survey indicates that 82 percent of Americans believe doctors who have received disciplinary action should be required to tell their patients about it. But medical boards and the American Medical Association have rejected the idea that doctors should be obligated to volunteer this kind of information. When Consumer Reports petitioned the California medical board to make it mandatory for doctors to inform their patients of probation, the board responded by saying that this would place a burden on doctors and it could be damaging to the relationship between the doctor and the patient.

Regardless of a doctor’s history of disciplinary action, when a medical mistake is made, a patient could suffer consequences. Patients who have been injured or made ill by a doctor’s mistake may be entitled to compensation. The first step in a case is to determine if medical negligence took place, and an attorney will attempt to make this determination through a review of the patient’s hospital charts and by obtaining the opinions of medical experts.