Do you really know the doctor you’ve decided to see? You’ve probably done your research and found good reviews about the doctor’s work, but that doesn’t always mean that the doctor doesn’t have a history of problems like medical malpractice complaints.
In Ohio, there’s a website that shows doctor ratings. Patients can leave reviews, and if you only look at those reviews, you could think that a doctor is great. However, if you dig deeper, there may be some skeletons in the closet that need to come out. In one instance reported on in an April 18 news story, a doctor with a high 4.5-star ranking had actually lost his license permanently in February 2015; there was little to no mention of this one on the site.
Do reviews make it possible to be involved with a doctor with a bad history of neglect or malpractice? In some ways, yes. You also need to consider that there are instances that will not be reported in any case, like if a complaint is filed against a physician at a local level. Under Ohio’s Sunshine Laws, these complaints are kept private, because it allows fellow physicians and hospitals to safely evaluate a doctor without the risk of legal action taking place. This can put patients at risk, though, because they may never hear that there was a problem with the doctor in the past.
When a real problem does come up, it can take years to go public, allowing a doctor to keep his license longer and potentially to cause more malpractice complaints. The State Medical Board of Ohio can make decisions in these cases, but even it is limited in how much it can accomplish.