The National Practitioner Data Base has kept the records of medical malpractice actions for the last 26 years. The NPDB enables hospitals and other healthcare providers to check doctors’ backgrounds for medical malpractice actions filed against them.
However, a loophole in the system allows many doctors to escape being reported in the database. In cases where a doctor is dismissed from the malpractice action because the plaintiff agrees to seek remedy from only the hospital or other responsible entity, the doctor is not reported in the NPDB. This allows many physicians to not only escape responsibility for their actions but also to appear have a clean record of practice, potentially putting future patients at risk.
An NPDB survey showed that in about 10 percent of cases, hospitals discover previously unknown information about doctors in the database. Hospitals and other healthcare entities rely on the integrity of the database information to help them make choices on hiring doctors – choices that can directly affect patient safety.
Public Citizen, an advocacy group based in Washington D.C., filed a citizen petition with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and recently filed a case in the U.S. District Court to close the loophole that lets doctors hide behind a “corporate shield.” Almost 15 years ago, a rule was proposed to close the known loophole, but it was withdrawn without explanation.
The attorneys of Kline & Specter, PC, are committed to fighting for victims of medical malpractice. We have recovered millions of dollars for our injured clients, including the largest-ever medical malpractice verdict in Pennsylvania – a $100 million verdict for an infant who suffered brain damage because of a doctor’s malpractice.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured because of medical malpractice, call 800-243-1100 today for a free case consultation with the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Kline & Specter. We represent medical negligence clients in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and across the nation.