Public Citizen, a citizen advocacy organization, has conducted a study revealing that 459 physicians working in Texas who have been sanctioned by hospitals and other healthcare providers have not been disciplined by the state medical board. According to a report in KXAN, a letter was sent to Governor Rick Perry detailing the results of the finding. The study was conducted by analyzing 21 years of data collected in the National Practitioner Data Bank.
Not Following Standards
The report details that the state medical board does not receive all of the funding generated by fees and fines. In fact, according to the report, even though $30 million are collected annually, the board only receives one third of that amount.
The report also details that there are open cases that date back as far as 2005. In total, the report found that 454 cases had been open for one year or more. The KXAN report goes on to detail that some of the disciplinary actions taken by healthcare facilities were for rather egregious infractions. They include sexual misconduct, endangering the lives of patients, negligence, drug abuse and alcohol abuse and insurance fraud, among other infractions.
Some of the malpractice claims that these physicians faced included failure to treat, failure to diagnose, performing unnecessary procedures and even wrongful death. With the state authority charged with overseeing doctors receiving only a third of the funding that it collects, many of these cases remain open and unresolved. Of course, that also means that any disciplinary actions that the state could take against these physicians are not being taken and that they may well continue to represent a threat to their patients.
Fixing a broken regulatory system is a political task, but medical malpractice is a legal issue. Whenever a physician takes you on as a patient, they have an obligation to provide you with competent care, accurate diagnosis and to adhere to certain ethical guidelines. When they do not, one of your options for rectifying the situation is seeking compensation via a lawsuit. Texas does have limitations on how much you can be awarded in a medical malpractice claim, but a skillful Houston medical malpractice attorney can ensure that you maximize your chances of winning your claim.
Filing a Claim
The first step in filing a medical malpractice claim is speaking with an attorney. If you’re not sure whether or not you do have a viable claim, an attorney can give you guidance in this matter. Because most medical malpractice attorneys work on contingency, they’ll have no interest in taking a claim that they don’t think is going to win. If they take your claim, you can be certain that they believe it is valid and that it could win in front of a jury.