Stepping into a doctor’s office can be nerve wracking sometimes. Especially a new doctor you’ve never seen before. Aside from being in discomfort or pain from whatever ailment you’re suffering, there’s also the added worry of if this is a good doctor. Not all doctors are good. As Virginia medical malpractice injury attorneys we know this because we have settled cases that involved gross negligence that constituted medical malpractice.
Some examples of gross negligence include:
- Wrong site surgery. This happens when a doctor operates on the wrong organ, limb, or body part.
- Foreign object left inside the patient. In this case, a doctor leaves a medical instrument or foreign body in the patient after surgery—like a piece of gauze or a sponge.
- Unnecessary surgery. This can sometimes happen after a misdiagnosis of patient symptoms or a medical decision that doesn’t take into account the risks or other options. It can also take place when surgery is chosen over more conventional treatments.
- Anesthesia errors. Mistakes with anesthesia can happen both prior to and during an operation. The anesthesiologist can fail to accurately review the patient’s medical records before surgery and possibly administer drugs that cause an allergic reaction, injury, or death. Or, due to previous medications given to the patient, a certain anesthetic could pose a risk of complication and shouldn’t be used.
There is a way however that you can check up on your doctors past. Especially if you feel something is just not quite right. The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) is a web-based repository of reports containing information on medical malpractice payments and certain adverse actions related to health care practitioners, providers, and suppliers. Established by Congress in 1986, it is a workforce tool that prevents practitioners from moving state-to-state without disclosure or discovery of previous damaging performance.
As an individual you can use the NPDB's Self-Query service. The self-query response shows the results of a search. Your response may show that no matching information was found in the NPDB, or it may show that information about medical malpractice payments, adverse licensure or privileges actions, or judgments and convictions was found, in which case the full report(s) will be provided. Self-Queries are $4.00 per order.
Access to medical malpractice lawsuits against doctors could help avoid some of the harrowing cases we deal with. For instance, attorneys with our firm have represented clients such as a 61-year-old Virginia woman in a case heard in the Newport News Circuit Court who lost both of her legs after botched back surgery. The case settled for $1.25 million. When doctors make mistakes, the consequences can be very serious. It’s only right for the public to know of their past mistakes before opting for surgery.