Doctors’ mistakes kill more people in the United States than workplace accidents and auto accidents combined. New York is departing from tolerating physicians who have a history of multiple malpractice settlements or verdicts at trial. The state will now scrutinize physicians who have a large number of medical malpractice lawsuits. Research has shown that 7% of New York physicians account for 71% of medical malpractice lawsuits, leading to the conclusion that the real medical malpractice problem is medical malpractice. Presently, 2% of the doctors in the state of New York have been placed on the New York state medical board’s watch list. This study includes professional misconduct by physicians as well medical malpractice and negligence.
Doctors have been typically monitored for three years if they have a professional conduct problem, and for five years under the impairment program which is contracted out to the Medical Society of the State of New York. Increased oversight of physicians is long overdue and will undoubtedly lead to a reduction in medical mistakes and the costs attached to them. Let’s hope other states take similar action.