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In Virginia, there is a special word for being victimized by medical malpractice – being “Plotnicked.” Virginia doctor Stephen Plotnick became so notorious for injuring patients that his name is now the word for what happens when doctors make mistakes. It is shocking that any doctor could earn such a shameful tribute without being stopped first. But the Virginia Board of Medicine failed to suspend Plotnick’s medical license until after five patients died on his watch and he was sued six times.

The medical profession suffers from a lack of accountability on more mundane matters as well.

In last month’s New England Journal of Medicine, Drs. Robert Wachter and Peter Pronovost write that physicians frequently neglect simple practices such as hand washing. They attribute this failure to “lax enforcement of safety rules.”

The need for enforcement could hardly be greater. In the 17 years since the federal government’s National Practitioner Data Bank was created to track reports of doctor discipline, nearly 50 percent of U.S. hospitals have failed to submit a single report, according to a Public Citizen study. The deficient reporting stems mostly from hospitals failing to (more…)

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Remember the report we issued on May 27 that outlined the failures of hospitals to report and discipline poor doctors? Well so do Charlie Gibson and ABC News because they covered our findings last night.

Watch the video here.

Our report found that nearly 50 percent of all hospitals in the United States failed to submit a single report to the National Practitioner Databank since its creation in 1990. The Databank was created to keep track of bad doctors by listing any practitioner who had their admitting privileges revoked or suspended for 31 days or more. That way, a hospital could easily check any doctor’s background before hiring him or her.

But this system has failed the very people it was trying to protect. Hospitals routinely exploit loopholes to avoid government requirements, such as the need to report to the Databank.  (more…)

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A few days ago, we told you about Public Citizen’s annual ranking of state medical boards – including a list of the six states with the worst-performing boards: Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and New Hampshire.

When doctors make mistakes, they must be held accountable, which is why we’re urging you to take action and contact the six worst-performing boards.

Simply visit our Web page with a list of the six states, and click on a state to submit a letter to that state’s medical board.

Nothing is more valuable than your health, and state medical boards must serve the public by consistently doling out and enforcing serious disciplinary actions for doctors’ serious violations.

Demand these boards do a better job today!

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