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If a surgeon in Cleveland has made a medical error is there any way for the public to know about it? Many people in Ohio likely wonder about whether their doctors and surgeons have ever been subject to a medical malpractice lawsuit, whether they have been found liable for a medical error or whether any of their patients have ever died, but much of this information is unavailable or difficult to find by patients. Across the country, the situation is the same: each state decides on its own reporting procedures and physicians’ records are often kept from public view.

There are some people who believe, however, that it is important to not only have standardized, national reporting, but to also make these reports public. Ostensibly, the idea is that if records are made public, surgeons will be more careful about their work, as their names, reputations and careers will be easily linked to a public file. Moreover, these surgeons would be forced to answer for poor or negligent medical care.

One of the reasons why a national reporting system may be beneficial is because there would be one set of data that would be collected across the country, making rates of medical malpractice much more comparable. Currently, with each state requiring varying degrees of reporting there is no standard for what should be reported or what is an entirely unacceptable event.

In a recent study of patient care, researchers found that third-party review of medical charts is an effective way to find indicators of medical errors. By looking for specific “triggers,” such as a patient being sent to the intensive-care unit following a surgery, approximately 9 out of 10 medical errors were caught. As more hospitals and clinics move to digital records, looking for these triggers may be much easier.

Unfortunately, there are surgeons in Cleveland who will continue to make surgical errors, putting their patients’ safety and lives at risk. When something does go wrong, however, patients can work with experienced surgical error attorneys to file medical malpractice claims.