Medical Scandal: Hospitals Fail to Report Bad Doctors
The National Practitioner Data Bank was designed for hospitals, HMOs and medical boards to report bad doctors, so that dangerous doctors wouldn't get passed from hospital to hospital. However, only half of hospitals in the US have reported any doctors at all.
In today’s video, Editor in Chief Larry Bodine interviews Dallas personal injury attorney Kay Van Way, who has represented patients harmed by bad doctors.
“It’s a huge problem,” she says. In fact, 63% of hospitals in Texas and 65% of hospitals in Oklahoma have not reported any dangerous doctors to the data bank. Shockingly, these hospitals are are violating the law that requires them to report doctors.
Hospitals are protecting bad doctors in two ways, according to Van Wey:
When a doctor with a checkered past applies to a hospital, the hospital may not want him on their staff. If they denied him hospital privileges, it would be on his record in the data bank. So they let him withdraw his application so there is never any trail of the rejection.
When a surgeon has a bad outcome and harms a patient, the hospital will suspend the doctor while it investigates. If they suspend him for 30 days or more they must report him to the data bank. So instead, the hospital will suspend him for only 29 days so they don’t have to report the doctor to the data bank.
“The hospitals are skirting the federal requirement to report bad doctors,” Van Wey says.
There was a notorious case in Dallas that involved a drug addicted neurosurgeon in 2014. Van Way represented 11 patients at four different hospitals and surgery centers who were harmed by the surgeon. He would harm people at hospital “A” and would be allowed to resign, and then he would move to hospital “B,” injure more patients and be allowed to resign. He was never reported to the national data bank. “If he would have been reported in the very beginning, he wouldn’t have gotten to hospital 2, 3 or 4 and wouldn’t have harmed as many people as he did,” Van Way says.
“Hospitals are violating the public trust, they’re violating the law and they’re putting patients at risk,” Van Way says. “Clearly, hospitals haven't been incentivized enough to do the right thing just because it’s in the patient’s best interests,” Van Wey says.
You can learn more about dangerous doctors by reading the Public Citizen report, Hospitals Drop the Ball on Physician Oversight.