It is hard not to worry about the possibility of becoming a medical malpractice victim. A 2013 study reported in the Journal of Patient Safety found that between 210,000 and 440,000 patients each year who go to the hospital for care suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death. This doesn’t even include the malpractice which causes some serious injury, but not death. These death totals make medical errors the third-leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease, which is the first, and cancer.
Well, a new study published by the New England Journal of Medicine may hold an important key to avoid becoming a victim of medical malpractice. The study found that just 1% of doctors are responsible for nearly 33% of paid medical malpractice claims. The study also found that as the number of paid claims that the doctor had against them increased, so did the likelihood of the physician having subsequent malpractice claims paid on their behalf. The conclusion of the study was important: “Over a recent 10-year period, a small number of physicians with distinctive characteristics accounted for a disproportionately large number of paid malpractice claims.” While many factors relating to whether or not you are a victim of medical malpractice are out of your control, it would appear that the one thing you can do to most significantly reduce your odds of becoming a victim is to thoroughly research your doctor.
How You Can Search For Prior Malpractice Claims In Indiana.
In Indiana there is a little known website available to the public that allows you to conduct research concerning claims filed against healthcare providers. You can access the website database at www.indianapcf.com. The website is not easy to navigate; however, information concerning all claims filed against a healthcare provider are listed. Here is how you can search for a healthcare provider:
To search for a doctor:
- Click the “Search for providers” button.
- Click on the “individual” button at the top.
- Type the doctor’s name in the “First name” and “Last name” boxes and click “Search.”
- When the name of the physician shows up, look to the “claims” column. That will tell you how many claims have been filed against the physician.
- To find out more information about each claim, click the “Claims” button. This will show you each claim, the date the claim was filed and the claim status.
- To find even more information about each claim, click the “View” button next to each claim number.
By taking the time to conduct this research you can discover how many claims have been filed against a particular doctor and utilize that information in deciding whether or not you want to consult that physician or find someone else.
But, Prior Claims Still Won’t Tell You Everything
Unfortunately, searching prior claims will not tell you the whole story. In the vast majority of cases, hospitals and other healthcare providers who commit medical malpractice hide the harm from their patients, according to a recent Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine report. The study, which was published in the Journal of Patient Safety, found that fewer than 1 out of 10 acts of medical negligence were voluntarily disclosed to the patient. Important take-aways from the report included the following:
- Health care providers withheld information about medical mistakes from the patient 91% of the time.
- When the harm from medical malpractice was disclosed by the hospital or other healthcare provider, it was usually because they were forced to.
- Only 11 percent of patients or their family members reported receiving an apology from the negligent healthcare provider.
- The medical malpractice caused financial harm to the patient. The average cost of the medical bills incurred by the patient due to the medical error was $14,024.
These findings are troublesome, particularly in states such as Indiana which rank among the worst in the U.S. in terms of healthcare quality and patient safety.
If you think you or a loved one may have been the victim of malpractice, don’t assume the hospital or other healthcare provider will inform you of the event. If you suspect that hospital or other healthcare negligence may have occurred, you should consult a qualified medical malpractice lawyer. Here are some other tips you should follow if you suspect medical negligence.
What You Do If You Have Been Harmed By Medical Malpractice
If you suspect that you or a loved one has been harmed by a medical malpractice, contacting an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help to determine if you have a claim that can be pursued. A medical malpractice claim may be able to help you recover payments to help reimburse you for harms you have suffered, including but not limited to:
- past and future medical expenses
- lost wages and/or future earnings
- pain and suffering,
- the loss of love and affection of a spouse, parent, or child
Many people also pursue medical malpractice claims in an effort to help make sure that the same medical mistake is not repeated. By raising awareness and forcing the negligent healthcare provider to correct the problem, you may be able to help ensure that the same event does not happen to someone else.
If you suspect that you or a loved one has a potential medical malpractice claim, the Powless Law Firm, P.C., would like to help you. You can request a free case consultation today by calling us at 877-769-5377 or by submitting the free case consultation request form on this page.