Many people are unaware of how little they actually know about their doctor. Should you do more research before choosing a physician? What risks could you be facing?
CBS news reports on choosing a doctor. New research shows that numerous people do not look into their physicians beforehand and do not know what they are up against.
Researchers say that people should not blame themselves for not knowing much about their doctors. It is fair to assume that the physician will be competent; however unfortunately that is not always the case.
New research shows that thousands of doctors in the United States are on medical probation for reasons including ‘drug abuse, sexual misconduct and making careless -- sometimes deadly – mistakes; but they're still out there practicing’.
What types of cases are there that you should be aware of?
For example, the report states that there was one OB/GYN who was placed on ‘probation for 40 cases of negligence and incompetence, including removing the wrong ovary’. The doctor was actually allowed to continue practicing and keep his probation a secret from his patients.
Why isn’t the public more aware of these issues?
The histories of these doctors are difficult to pin down, because the information is not accessible to the public. “Consumer Reports is advocating for change by urging that the National Practitioner Data Bank -- which is managed by the Department of Health and Human Services -- be opened to the public,” according to CBS news.
Should this information be open to the public? Numerous experts are contending that this information definitely be accessible to the public as they have the right to know whom they are trusting their life or a loved one’s life to. Is the data available to anyone? At the present time this information is only accessible to doctors, hospitals and health officials.
CBS News medical contributor Dr. Holly Phillips commented on the National Data Bank on CBS This Morning Tuesday. She said, “It's a huge repository of all types of information about health care providers, not just doctors -- nurse practitioners, physical therapists -- and you can find out information about medical suits or disciplinary action that the providers may have been involved in.”
On the flip side, some experts argue that the best doctors actually have more cases filed against them. Why is that? Some experts say that those who are more likely to dive right into the most difficult cases, those who are willing to take hard cases that most other physicians do not, and other doctors may turn down, are sometimes the ones who have the most cases filed against them. In contrast some doctors only take simple cases where they know they will have good results.
For patients who do want to stay informed experts say the state medical boards are the best place for finding information on physicians' licenses, disciplinary history, medical school records and board certifications. “But depending on where you live, the sites may be difficult to navigate, and the information may not be complete,” according to CBS news.