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Report seeks to raise medical malpractice awareness

Many medical care providers work diligently to provide the best possible care for their patients. Despite the thousands of medical workers in Pennsylvania who are well-trained professionals, there are those who can potentially cause significant damage due to medical malpractice. A recent report issued by Consumer Reports recently examined doctor's licensing records in an attempt to make people more aware of the importance of transparency.

While some may think that medical malpractice is a relatively rare occurrence, some statistics indicate otherwise. The Department of Health and Human Services began gathering data in 1990, maintained in the National Practitioner Database, on licensed health care workers. The database details medical malpractice as well as disciplinary records. Patients do not have access to this database. Perhaps surprisingly, approximately 15 percent of doctors have made a medical malpractice payout since the Department of Health and Human Services began collecting data just over 25 years ago.

The Consumer Reports project, called Safe Patient Project, examined the licensing records of medical care providers in California. Their report discovered an incident in which a surgeon removed the wrong ovary -- a mistake that was not discovered until the patient returned home and began experiencing pain. In another incident, a patient suffered from a leg fracture that was ignored. As a result, the leg eventually had to be amputated.

While Consumer Reports focused on data from out of state, it is relevant to patients all over the country, including Pennsylvania. Their goal is to illustrate the importance of transparency, especially in regards to informing patients of the the fact that a doctor has been placed on probation and the reason why. Meanwhile, those who are suffering as a result of medical malpractice have the option of seeking recompense in a civil court.

Source:, "Report reveals doctor DUIs, botched surgeries and other medical horror stories in California", March 29, 2016

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