An investigative report from an Ohio television station revealed how some doctors and hospitals hide medical malpractice incidents from patients. The report showed how thousands of disciplinary actions against physicians, many of them including medical malpractice cases, are kept hidden from public access. The report also examined how physicians and hospitals are allowed to keep such information private, preventing potential patients from finding out about dangerous doctors.
Details of a VA Medical Malpractice Case
The report examined several medical malpractice cases, one of which involved the death of a Vietnam veteran. Donald Adanich underwent dental implant surgery in February 2014. For the next three weeks, Mr. Adanich complained of severe stomach pain. Doctors at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center later discovered that Mr. Adanich had swallowed surgical gauze during his dental procedure. The doctors compounded the medical malpractice when they failed to inform Mr. Adanich or his wife, Lyn, about the gauze.
Second Opinion Reveals Medical Malpractice
Mrs. Adanich learned about the gauze in her husband’s stomach after she obtained a second opinion. The doctor accessed Mr. Adanich’s records from the VA hospital, where the swallowed gauze was revealed. Mrs. Adanich believed that the VA hospital’s failure to inform her of the swallowed gauze constituted medical malpractice. Mr. Adanich died six months after the dental surgery due to an infection. Mrs. Adanich believed that the VA hospital’s medical malpractice contributed to her husband’s death.
Burn Victim Cites Medical Malpractice
Another medical malpractice revealed in the TV station’s report involved a college co-ed who suffered severe burns during cosmetic surgery. In December 2006, Lauren Wargo underwent a procedure to remove a mole from her face. The surgeon used an electronic tool in the oxygen-rich operating room, which sparked a fire. The fire led to Ms. Wargo suffering second- and third-degree burns on more than half of her face. Ms. Wargo did not learn of how the fire started until after she sued the surgeon for medical malpractice.
Medical Malpractice Records Sealed From Public?
The investigative report found that federal agencies have been collecting data on doctors accused of medical malpractice since 2012. The National Practitioner Data Bank allows hospitals in one state to learn if a doctor in another state has been disciplined for medical malpractice. However, these records are not yet available to the public. Current state and federal laws allow those records to remain private. Maxwell Mehlman, the Director of the Law-Medicine Center at Case Western Reserve University, told reporters, “There’s no way that the public can go online and find out” about doctors who have been suspended for medical malpractice.
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NOTE: This post is a news story and does not imply an endorsement of Arguello Law Firm by any of the parties mentioned herein.